Iyanola and Grande Anses, Esperance and Fond D'ors

Site description (2007 baseline):

Site location and context
The area covers approximately 4314 ha, and stretches from the Dennery Knob westward to Mardi Gras just outside the periphery of the Forest Reserve. It then follows a north eastern direction along the Forest Reserve Boundary to Grand Anse. This area occupies a considerable portion within the tropical dry forest life zone of St. Lucia and is largely covered by scrub forest characterized by short canopy and a large number of small-diameter trees. Nature conservation and research, agriculture, rangeland/ pastureland, some areas not utilized, all these categories aid to describe the land use of the area. A major part of the area is not utilized remaining under secondary forest cover.

Key biodiversity
The species of national importance in this site include the following: St. Lucia Black Finch Melanospiza richardsoni , St. Lucia Oriole Icterus laudabilis , St. Lucia White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus, St. Lucia Pewee Contopus oberi, St. Lucia Warbler Dendroica delicata, St. Lucia Flycatcher Myiachus oberi sanctae luceae and St. Lucia Wren Troglodytes aedon sanctae luceae. Other species that inhabit the area are: Banana Quit Coereba flaveola, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis, Black-faced Grass Quit Tiaris bicolor, Broad-Winged hawk Buteo platypterus , Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Green heron Butorides virescens, Grey Trembler Cinclocerthia gutturalis, Brown Trembler Cinclocerthia ruficauda, Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor, Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina, Red-Necked Pigeon Patagioenas squamosa, Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica, Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis, Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica, American Kestrel Falco sparverius, Ruddy Quail Dove Geotrygon montana, Scaly-Breasted Thrasher Margarops fuscus, Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus, Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris, Lesser Antillean Saltator Saltator albicollis, Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus nudigenis, Grey Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis, Black-whispered Vireo Vireo altiloquus, Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita. The area is important for migrant species and waterbirds. A pond at Grande Anse is the only place where Masked ducks have been recorded breeding. Many migrant ducks, warblers and waterbirds have been recorded in the area. Potentially, it may also serve as a nesting place for marine species such as the Red-billed Tropicbird that has been recorded nesting along the cliff in others parts of the St. Lucia. Furthermore, several shorebirds have been recorded foraging along the beach areas.

Non-bird biodiversity: The area is very rich in biological diversity and to a certain extent remains undeveloped. The habitat supports tremendous wildlife species, with a high occurrence of endemism. The avifaunal life is greatest, and particularly important are the St. Lucia Black Finch, the St. Lucia Oriole, the White-breasted Thrasher, Rufous Nightjar, and the St. Lucia Wren. These species are in a state population decline and require tremendous attention (ICBP 1988). It is worth noting that this habitat is the last stronghold of the Rufous Nightjar. Reptilians found there include the boa constrictor, fer-de-lance, iguana, the leatherback, hawksbill and green turtle. The Grand Anse beach is presently the most important nesting ground for the turtles. The adjacent Louvet beach is also an important nesting ground for the St. Lucia Iguana. Mammals are represented by the agouti, opossum and possibly the St. Lucia Muskrat, believed to be extinct. Floral Species of considerable importance include Tabebuia pallida, Guerttarda scabra, Coccothrinax barbadensis, which appear to be overexploited within the area

Habitat and land use
Generally this site is characterized by degraded scrub forest, which in some areas has been exposed to continuous slash and burn agriculture. The upper story is discontinuous and composed predominantly of deciduous trees and shrubs with a varied mix of semi-evergreen trees, while the lower story is more continuous and almost entirely evergreen. Naturally growing plants within the area offer some resistance to drought conditions. Slash and burn agriculture as well as charcoal production, are among the economic activities undertaken. Mixed farming appears to be the dominant form of agricultural practice undertaken within the area. Although banana is on the decline, it has remained the dominant crop, mixed with coconut, and fruit trees such as mangoes and breadfruit. Livestock farming also exist within the area, but only on a small scale. Small scale crab hunting is the most common hunting practice occurring within various locations in the area. Small scale reef fishing is carried out at selected areas. However, reef fishers need to take extreme precaution due to the strong ocean currents that exist in the seas. There has also been some research done on the nesting activity of the leather back turtle. This activity was undertaken by a local community group, under the auspices of the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture. The beaches in some locations are used for sea bathing by both locals and foreigners. In addition, turtle watching has become a major activity that has attracted both foreign visitors as well as locals. The entire area is privately owned.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Generally several mal-practices may negatively impact the integrity of the area Non-native predators – small Indian mongoose; black, brown rats; semi feral cats and dogs Garbage – Garbage disposal is a problem Deforestation – Deforestation for agricultural purposes threatens much of the area. This causes forest fragmentation and limits nesting and roosting sites of wildlife species. Furthermore, resident species may face greater exposure to predation and competition by foreign species. Fires, usually contained within relatively small areas (few ha) are common. Sand Mining – Indiscriminate sand mining by residents of the surrounding communities destroys the beach and jeopardizes the reproductive attempts of turtles. Hotel development – Development of large hotels and golf courses may threaten the survival of many species

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The St. Lucia Iguana Project which presently is an ongoing research activity is the sole major research activity taking place within the area. The project started in 2002 with broad objectives of determining the status of the St. Lucia iguana. There are two key disjointed geographical areas of focus where most of the project work takes place. Between the two key areas, Louvet is of high significance due to the fact that the Louvet Beach is a very important nesting site for iguanas, and the area seems to be one of the few iguana strongholds in St. Lucia. A larger portion of the entire population is found within and in the immediate environment of the area. Grand Anse forms the other area of significance, holding a lesser portion of the population, and also serving as a nesting site for the iguana.

Protected areas
Marine Reserves – Marquis Mangroves, Fond D’or, Louvette Mangroves, Grand Anse Beach and Mangroves, Cas-en-Bas Mangrove. These sites were designated marine reserves in 1986, and are all contained within the overall IBA. 2 large estates (Louvet and Grand Anse) are found in this area; both potential targets for future development, but at least offering the opportunity for dealing with single landowners. Most of the area is privately owned. Government has jurisdiction on the Marine reserves and own a few parcels of crown lands. The protected areas are contained by the IBA

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Iyanola and Grande Anses, Esperance and Fond D'ors. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023.