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Pencil cedars. Credit: Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Pencil cedars. Credit: Jeremy Holden / Fauna & Flora

Pitons Christmas tree project


With a little help from Christmas tree consumers in Saint Lucia, this project aims to save a rare native juniper from extinction. The critically endangered pencil cedar was once widespread in Saint Lucia and Barbados, but today only a few mature individuals survive only on the rocky peak of Petit Piton mountain in south-west Saint Lucia.

With support from the Global Trees Campaign, Fauna & Flora assisted the Saint Lucia Forestry Department in propagating juniper trees in its nurseries so they can be replanted back into lowland forests. This project also aims to reduce the country’s dependency on growing non-native acacia and cyprus trees for Christmas by encouraging the public to instead buy nursery-grown potted junipers and then – after the festive period is over – plant the trees in their backyards and farms. By establishing a new Christmas tradition to save a national icon, the project will help to ensure that the long-term restoration of the species can be sustained and reduce the risks of spreading non-native trees.

We are grateful for financial support from Sandals Foundation.