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Grenada - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Grenada comprises three main islands: Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, totaling an area of approximately 348 km2. Grenada’s coastline is 121 km long and consists of diverse marine and coastal ecosystems, including mangrove swamps, coral reefs, sea grass beds, beaches, lagoons, dry woodlands and cactus shrub. The country has 71 distinct watersheds, of which the largest watershed, the Great River catchment, comprises 159 km2 which is equal to about one-half of the country’s area. There are 8 major watersheds on Carriacou and none in Petit Martinique; neither island has permanent streams or springs.

The most recent survey of land use in Grenada was conducted in 1995 as part of the agricultural census. Land use categories from the census indicated that approximately 75% of the total land area is under some form of agriculture. Permanent crops account for 63.7% of the total land area, while about 7% of the land area is used for temporary cultivation and 4.5% is classified as permanent pasture areas. Forested areas represent 20.8% of the land area and about 4% of the land area is non-agricultural and non-forested. Much of the forest seen in Grenada today is the main secondary re-growth from the era of Hurricane Janet and conditioned by the impact of recent hurricanes. There are two endemic species of plants, the Grand Etang Fern (Danaea sp.) and the Cabbage Palm (Oxeodoxa oleracea), and one endemic tree species (Maythenus grenadensis). There is a general lack of information in regard to the statuses and trends of Grenada’s forests. The forestry department estimated that the annual rate of forest loss since 1995 was 0.9%. Grenada’s terrestrial wildlife consists of 4 amphibian species, 8 species of lizard and 5 species of snake, 150 species of birds (18 of which are thought to be threatened or endangered), 4 native species of terrestrial mammals and 11 native species of bats.

Mangroves occupy about 3.4 km2 in Grenada. The main types of mangrove include red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove and buttonwood. Coral reefs surrounding Grenada are estimated to occupy an area of 12.5 km2. Grenada has 233 marine species, 69 marine/brackish water species, and several species of sea birds as well as 17 freshwater species on the main island.

Currently, protection exists for only a few forest areas in Grenada. Grand Etang Forest Reserve is fully protected by legislation from any change in land use. There are national parks at Levera (123 ha) in the northeast, which are primarily mangrove, and at Mt. Hartman in the southwest and Perseverance Estate on the west coast which are dry forest. In Carriacou, an area of 136 ha is protected at High North. Work is currently being carried out by the Forestry Department and Forest Management Project regarding surveying areas for the creation of three more forest reserves at Morne Gazo, Annandale and Mt. St. Catherine. This will result in approximately one-third of the island’s forests being protected.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The main threats to forest biodiversity are the clearing of the land for agricultural production, animal tethering, housing settlement, infrastructure and commercial activities. Forest biodiversity is also threatened by natural disaster, including hurricanes, forest fires and pest infestation.

The main threats to agricultural biodiversity are changing land use and loss of vegetated lands which signal a loss in habitat for wildlife and reduction in flora and fauna. This also creates conditions for soil erosion and siltation of rivers and coral reefs. Threats also include the impact of natural disasters, especially tropical storms and hurricanes, the increasing use of pesticides and insecticides, the introduction of invasive alien species and pest infestation.

The major threats to many of Grenada’s wildlife species include habitat destruction, unsustainable extraction and hunting practices, lack of institutional capacity for public education, enforcement and monitoring, lack of adequate legislation and invasive alien species.

The main threats to Grenada’s marine and coastal ecosystems are overexploitation of commercial species, overuse of ecosystem for agricultural, energy, tourism and construction purposes, beach sand mining, pollution through dumping of solid and liquid wastes, poaching and illegal extraction, unsustainable terrestrial agricultural farming practices, habitat destruction and disturbances in the food chain, spillage of oil-based substances and unsustainable fisheries practices.

The main threats to the freshwater ecosystem are improper domestic solid waste and liquid disposal, overexploitation of species, unsustainable agricultural practices, including the use of weedicides and pesticides, saline intrusion, deforestation, introduction of alien invasive species and extensive use of freshwater for domestic and commercial purposes.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The Government of Grenada elaborated and published the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 2000. The NBSAP identified six priority objectives for the five-year period (2001-2005), as follows: 1) Provide broad-based support for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; 2) Protect key ecosystems from negative human-induced impacts; 3) Develop and encourage sustainable utilisation of biological resources that are essential to the livelihood of local communities; 4) Maintain, recover and promote genetic resources necessary for sustainable agriculture; 5) Ensure a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic and ecosystem resources; and 6) Provide information on key ecosystems for incorporation into national accounts and decisions on national development projects. Grenada is currently in the process of revising its NBSAP.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Grenada joined forces with seven other Caribbean countries under the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) which seeks to expand and consolidate the Caribbean network of protected areas, both marine and terrestrial. The countries pledge to effectively conserve 20% of their resources by 2020. Six new protected areas have been designated and are awaiting formal adoption of the relevant legislation following a study on areas of particular importance to biodiversity. There is also legislation which prevents any form of hunting within the reserve.

Sustainable Land Management Projects include the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) projects, Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project and the Integrated Water Resources and Coastal Area Management Plan which are serving to strengthen the management of key ecosystems. Moreover, disaster risk reduction strategies have been implemented, and the tourism master plan has been completed and implementation is ongoing. Additional ongoing projects deal with mangrove restoration, asbestos management, national forest management, among others.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The National Strategic Development Plan and the National Environment Policy and Management Strategy are the two foremost policy documents providing extensive treatment to the integration of environmental concerns in national development plans and programmes. The National Environmental Policy and Management Strategy is Grenada’s formal expression and commitment to arrest and reverse trends of environmental degradation and to ensure that sound environmental management is fully integrated into the national development policy framework. In addition, several sectoral policies were developed and each included elements of environmental management concerns. The National Climate Change Policy, National Agricultural Policy, Tourism Master Plan, National Forest Policy, Poverty Eradication Strategy and the Energy Policy have included, albeit in rather broad terminology, the issue of environment management. The National Climate Change Policy, for example, includes a section on the direct linkages between climate change and biological diversity.

The principal legislation for review was the Physical Planning and Development Control Act (2002) which focuses on the protection of natural and cultural heritage. The Act establishes the boundaries for physical planning and development control issues, including environment impact assessments, enforcement of development control, protection of the natural ecosystems and establishes the institutional framework for environmental management. However, biodiversity conservation is not directly featured in the legislation on environmental impact assessment.

Grenada has established a Sustainable Development Council (SDC) comprising broad-based representation from the major sectors to constitute a forum for discussion, analysis and to advise policy makers on contemporary issues of national development. In fact, the SDC has functioned as a forum for ventilating several issues relating to environmental management.

Grenada signed and ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and elaborated the National Biosafety Framework. Grenada also collaborates with other countries of the Caribbean on a range of biodiversity-related projects (e.g. OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL), Sustainable Land Management (SLM), Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM), Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI)).

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The National Capacity Self Assessment (NCSA) was completed for the biodiversity sector, the climate change sector and land degradation area. The NCSA determined the management gaps and provided a roadmap for addressing the various concerns. The NCSA was complemented by the elaboration of the ecological gap assessment, a study on the management effectiveness of protected areas and a finance plan for protected areas.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme