St Vincent and the Grenadines boasts a diverse collection of biological resources. St. Vincent is rugged and mountainous with steep slopes and fertile yellow earth, volcanic ash and alluvial soils. The country has about 12,700 ha of tropical forests, including primary and secondary rainforest, palm brakes, elfin woodland, littoral woodland, dry scrub woodlands and mangrove forest. The significant tropical forests provide natural habitat for wildlife including the St. Vincent Parrot and other endemic species. The Grenadines, in contrast, consists of low dry islands surrounded by extensive coral reefs and sea grass beds.
According to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, the biodiversity on St Vincent and the Grenadines includes:
- Mammals – 17 species, including 12 species of bats.
- Birds – 190 species including 2 island endemics, the St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii) and the Whistling Warbler (Catharopeza bishopi) and over 14 regional endmics. Two endemic subspecies of Myadestes genibarbis and Troglodytes aedon also exist.
- Reptiles – 21 species, including 5 endemics, - four lizards: Anolis griseus, Anolis trinitatus, Sphaerodactylus kirbyi (endemic to Bequia and Mustique), and Gonatodes daudini (endemic to Union Island) and one snake -the Black Snake (Chironius vincentii). There are 4 species of turtles, Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Green (Chelonia mydas), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Leatherback (Dermochelys coraica). Two of the 21 species are apparently recent invasive species.
- Amphibians – 4 species including one endemic, Eleuthrodactylus shrevei, and two invasive species.
- Plants – 1,150 species of flowering plants with 16 endemics. There are 163 species of ferns, 4 are endemic, including the Tree Fern (Cyathea tenera) found on the uppermost ridges within cloud and rain forests.
- Fresh water – There are 25 fresh and brackish water species.
- Marine – There are over 500 marine species including 450 species of finfish, 12 species of whales and dolphins, 4 species of turtles, 9 species of gastropods, 11 species of seaweed and 30 species of corals recorded.
- 25 species of diplopods (centipedes and millipedes), 220 species of arachnids (not including microscopic mites), 2,000 species of insects, and 35 terrestrial crustaceans have been recorded in the country.
- 875 species of molluscs (75 terrestrial and aquatic, 800 marine) exists.
- 16 species of nematodes have been recorded for Union Island alone.
For a list of threatened species in St Vincent and the Grenadines, see the IUCN Red List.
The St Vincent Parrot
The St Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii) is the national bird of St Vincent and the Grenadines. There is a conservation breeding program in place at the Botanical Gardens, and one in Berlin through the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots program. More information here: http://datazone.birdlife.org/home