Strengthening capacity for Species Action Planning in Montserrat
Providing support to Government and conservation NGOs on Montserrat in developing skills in producing Species Action Plans for the island's endemic plant species
Montserrat's endemic orchid, Epidendrum montserratense (Photo: Martin Hamilton)
Montserrat is one of the richest of all the UK Overseas Territories in terms of its biodiversity. However large areas of its vegetation were destroyed by the volcanic eruptions which occurred between 1995 and 1997. This has intensified the threats faced by the endemic and restricted-range species found on the island. One bird species, the endemic Montserrat oriole (Icterus oberi), has already been the subject of a Species Action Plan (SAP), designed to document the biology of a threatened species, the threats that it faces and the actions needed to conserve it. The SAP also takes into account the concerns of people either involved with or potentially affected by any conservation measures put in place. The preparation of the Montserrat oriole SAP highlighted the need to build capacity amongst individuals and organisations on Montserrat to undertake similar planning processes for other threatened species.
This project focused on the development and implementation of a SAP to cover the three endemic plant species, Rondeletia buxifolia, Epidendrum montserratense and Xylosma serrata. The project provided training for Montserratian partners in the skills needed to prepare, publish and implement SAPs.
Kew has been involved in assessments of Montserrat's biodiversity through the Darwin Initiative supported Project Enabling the People of Montserrat to Conserve the Centre Hills since 2005. As part of this species action planning process, the UKOTs team supported an MSc thesis project (Jones, 2008) and collaborated with local project partners to devise sampling protocols for the two extant endemic plant species (Rondeletia buxifolia and Epidendrum montserratense) and investigate their full distribution. Seeds from both species have been incorporated into the Millennium Seed Bank and horticultural protocols for their germination and cultivation are under development in the Tropical Nursery and Conservation Biotechnology Sectionat Kew. The horticultural protocol for Rondeletia buxifolia has been published (see annex 4) and made available to project partners. A demonstration hedge of Rondeletia buxifolia has been establishedat the Montserrat National Trust Botanic Garden and Epidendrum montserratense has been established in cultivation there. Xylosma serrata is known from just one site in the south of Montserrat. This site was completely destroyed by volcanic eruptions. No living material is known in cultivation, but the search for this plant continues.
Project partners and collaborators
Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) - Project No. MNT403
Clubbe, C., Hamilton, M., and Corcoran, M. (2009). 26(1&2): 131-141.
Conference papers and reports
Hilton, GM, Gray, GAL, Fergus, E, Sanders, SM, Gibbons, DW, Bloxam, Q, Clubbe, C and Ivie, M (eds) (2005). Species Action Plan for the Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi. Department of Agriculture, Montserrat.
Corcoran, M.R., Hamilton, M. A., Robbins, S. R. and Clubbe, C. (2009) Report on the status of Rondeletia buxifolia Vahl, including a germination and cultivation protocol
Jones, M. (2008) Invasive plants on Montserrat