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Saint Lucia

Emerald in the sea

Country

Though less than 616 km2 in area, the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia is exceptionally rich in animals and plants. The country is home to well over 2,000 native species, of which nearly 200 species occur nowhere else (including 76% of its terrestrial reptiles).

The nation’s best-known species is the gorgeous but endangered Saint Lucia amazon parrot. Other species of conservation concern include the pencil cedar, staghorn coral and Saint Lucia racer. The racer, confined to the nine-hectare island of Maria Major, is thought to be the world’s most threatened snake.

Although Saint Lucia’s rugged, volcanic interior remains thickly forested and healthy coral still abounds offshore, its flatter areas inland have long been cleared for agriculture. The island’s coastal dry forests are increasingly being destroyed for tourism development. Saint Lucia’s biodiversity is also threatened by over 300 alien invasive species (including rapacious mongooses and opossums as well as hundreds of alien plants) and overexploitation. At least 69 native species have already disappeared.

Today, Saint Lucia faces the challenge of enabling economic growth and development without destroying the many wonders of its natural world.

2,000 and counting

2,000 Saint Lucia amazon parrots now live in the country, up from only about 100 in the 1970s.

20 left

20 is the estimated total number of Saint Lucia racers that remain in the world.

    2,000 and counting

    2,000 Saint Lucia amazon parrots now live in the country, up from only about 100 in the 1970s.

    20 left

    20 is the estimated total number of Saint Lucia racers that remain in the world.

Our work to protect Saint Lucia’s biodiversity

Fauna & Flora first began working on Saint Lucia in 2000, when we assisted the Forestry Department and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to eradicate alien rats from Praslin Island to conserve the rare Saint Lucia whiptail lizard.

Since then, we have played a vital role in supporting the Forestry Department to manage Saint Lucia’s natural resources sustainably. This work has included conducting comprehensive surveys of the island’s forests and terrestrial flora and fauna, identifying priorities for conservation and helping the Forestry Department to devise its national forest management strategy.

One of our most striking success stories in Saint Lucia relates to the lansan tree, a species of great local value to people due to its resin, which is used to create incense. However, habitat loss and overexploitation had decimated populations of this tree throughout its range.

In 2010, we began providing technical and financial support to the Forestry Department to solve the problem of destructive tapping practices to harvest the resin, which causes the premature death of numerous lansan trees, even inside the Forest Reserve. Thanks to this work a new, sustainable method for tapping was found that not only minimises damage to the tree but also yields more resin – a real win-win for people and the environment.

Our work in Saint Lucia continues to this day and includes a project to save the Saint Lucia racer from extinction that aims to replicate our success with the Antiguan racer (which has increased in number from just 50 when we first began working with the species to over 1,100 today).

Saint Lucia racer. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Saint Lucia racer. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Saint Lucia racer.

More about our work in Saint Lucia

Sustainable Lansan Project
Forest worker Sean cyril inspecting a lansan tree in Saint Lucia. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora
Project

Sustainable Lansan Project

Fauna & Flora is working with the Saint Lucia Forestry Department to ensure the long term conservation of lansan trees i...
Saint Lucia
People & the environment
Lansan tree
Lansan tree. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora
Species

Lansan tree

Discover more about how we've helped protect the threatened Caribbean tree that produces incense.
Saint Lucia racer
Saint Lucia racer. © Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora
Species

Saint Lucia racer

Find out more about the world's rarest snake and the efforts of Fauna & Flora and partners to rescue the tiny surviving ...