Located deep in Cockpit Country (see video), which is both the highest-ranked Biodiversity Hotspot in the Caribbean and the largest tract of wet limestone forest remaining on Jamaica, Windsor’s unique location continues to attract local and overseas researchers in the natural and social sciences. WRC evolved from the vision of the founding director, Michael Schwartz, who recognised that much of the information about Cockpit Country was not available on-site and, consequently, was not available to the communities nor to conservation planners and natural resource managers.
Within the framework of the recognised vital ecosystem services of Cockpit Country, particularly as the watershed for central-west Jamaica and as an important reservoir of endemic biodiversity, and in keeping with repeated calls for remote field stations, Windsor Research Centre was established to promote, facilitate, monitor and centralise research associated with the Cockpit Country.
This maintains the research link, which historically has been associated with the area from at least 1920, when Harold E. Anthony (mammologist at American Museum of Natural History, NY) visited Windsor and stayed at the Great House. Note also the connection to Miriam Rothschild, who conducted seminal research on mammalian ectoparasites in Windsor Cave and who owned Windsor Great House during the 1950's.
The mission of the WRC is to promote research in the Natural Sciences with particular reference to the conservation of Cockpit Country; to act as a repository for this research; to disseminate information to ensure the best-possible protection and management of Cockpit Country.
To achieve its mission, WRC has and continues to develop collaborations with local and international institutions, departments of Government, NGO’s, community-based organisations, and private individuals. These collaborations enable WRC to develop quality research projects, which improve the knowledge base of Cockpit Country. We leverage these projects as a mechanism for training and improving skills of local field assistants, students, fellow researchers, and natural resource managers. The institutional development associated with these projects enables WRC to improve its infrastructural capacity - - tho' we've not cracked that hard nut of poor mobile phone and internet service: More-often-than-not we still have to drive 5 km and park in the local football pitch, with laptop and USB modem wedged in behind the steering wheel, to access the internet, send email, and maintain this website . . . so bear with us if we don't respond to your email within minutes!
It is through positive leveraging feedbacks that WRC is able to continue meeting the requests of our users: local communities, resident and overseas Jamaicans, researchers, resource managers, and all stakeholders supporting conservation.
- To provide adequate logistic support to meet demand, including lodging, transport, communications, on-site reference documentation and local information packages (including maps, historical data; aerial surveys etc); to supply baseline meteorological info.
- to maintain a pool of local expertise to assist
- To assist in liaison between researchers and institutions such as NEPA (formerly NRCA) and Forestry Dept.
- To facilitate future research by improving existing species inventories and the natural histories of flora and fauna
- Encourage the presence of local student population (especially from UWI) to participate and collaborate with projects with an expected outcome of more research being initiated by local graduates
- To promote conservation by dissemination of the results of research to all levels of society, including presentations at the appropriate level for interests and communities associated with the Cockpit Country
- To apply academic knowledge and research to socio-economic development by demonstrating appropriate crops, appropriate technology and sustainable practices in the local environment
- To ensure financial sustainability of WRC, fees will be charged for the above services and short "tropical field experience courses" for overseas students and their lecturers will be marketed.