Litchfield Mountain-Matheson’s Run is located in the southwestern corner of St Ann Parish and eastern Trelawny Parish. The area, which is dominated by polygonal and tower karst limestone, is the eastern flank of the Cockpit Country Conservation Area. At the core of the IBA are two Forest Reserves – Litchfield Matteson’s Run (4,485 ha) and Hyde Hall Mountain (662 ha) managed by the Forestry Department. The area receives 1500-2500 mm of rainfall annually but is noted for its absence of surface water because of vertical percolation through the limestone substrate. However, several major river heads (including Lowe River and Cave River) have their sources along the site’s southern geomorphologic boundary of the volcanically-derived Cretaceous Central Inlier. The geomorphology also defines the patterns of human activities and community settlement: soils accumulate in the glades (or cockpit bottomlands), with a consequence that such areas are cleared of forest and used for agriculture. A ring of communities has developed around the periphery of the well-developed core cockpit karst, in areas that transition to more gently-rolling hills and valleys of doline karst.
26 of Jamaica’s 29 endemic bird species have been recorded at the site. Of particular importance is the presence of Nesopsar nigerrimus (Jamaican Blackbird, EN). Large numbers (ca. 50-100) of Patagioenas caribaea (Ring-tailed Pigeon, VU) congregate during the summer in yam fields that are immediately adjacent to closed-canopy forest in order to feed on immature leaves of the yam plants.
Non-bird biodiversity: Reliable data are not available due to a lack of survey effort. The range maps of six endangered amphibians overlap with the site, but the status of each requires assessment. Osteopilus crucialis Jamaican Snoring FrogEN Osteopilus marianae Yellow Bromeliad Frog EN Osteopilus wilderi Green Bromeliad Frog EN Eleutherodactylus grabhami Pallid Eleuth EN Eleutherodactylus jamaicensis Jamaican Bromeliad Eleuth EN Eleutherodactylus junori Rock Pocket Eleuth CR
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Litchfield Mountain - Matheson's Run. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/12/2019.