Mount Hartman

Site description (2008 baseline):

Site location and context
Mount Hartman IBA comprises the (recently re-defined)national park on the coast in south-western Grenada. The park sits within the 187-ha Mount Hartman Estate; the 125 ha outside the park is privately owned. Originally three discrete parcels of woodland, the national park boundaries were redesignated (in 2008) to create one contiguous protected area of the same size. The IBA is bordered (except to the north) by a new resort development. To the north are residential houses, and to the north-east is a marina on Woburn Bay. Mount Hartman Bay lies to the south-west.

Key biodiversity
This IBA is the single most important site for the Critically Endangered Grenada Dove Leptotila wellsi. It supports a population estimated at c.20 pairs in 2003/2004 (pre-Hurricane Ivan) (Rusk and Clouse 2004), and c.11–20 pairs 3–4 months after the hurricane in 2004 (a possible under/over estimate due to a change in calling behaviour post hurricane) (Rusk 2005). Twenty-five pairs were estimated in 2007 (Rusk 2008) within the re-designated park boundaries. Six (of the 7) Lesser Antilles EBA restricted-range birds occur at this IBA, as does the threatened endemic Grenada Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus mirus subspecies.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Grenada Bank endemic reptiles and amphibians Corallus grenadensis, Anolis aeneus and A. richardii occur.

Habitat and land use
The vegetation is primarily thorn woodland with some cactus scrub in limited areas. This area supports both native and exotic species. The Mt. Hartman Estate was an abandoned sugarcane plantation that has grown into deciduous thorn scrub woodlands. The vegetation is typically characterized by a canopy of 5-10 m in height with emergent trees, primarily Bursera simaruba, on the steeper slopes, with a shrub later and large areas of open ground. Common canopy species found include: Haematoxylon campechianum (native), Exostema caribaea, Forrestieria rhamnifolia. Leucaena leucocphala, Pisonia fragrans (native), Acacia macrantha, Pithcellobium unguis cati (native), Genipa Americana, Citharexylum fruticosum (native), mid-level vegetation of Chomelia fasciculate, Bourreria succulenta and Randia acueata, with shrubs in open areas including Cordia curassavica and Croton flavens. The effects of hurricane Ivan (2004) severely affected the structure of the vegetation, with likely changes to species composition over time. The above description is pre-hurricane information.The area is surrounded by a variety of land uses. Cattle grazing and small agricultural plots are found in the lowlands between the ridges of the National Park. A quarry operates across the valley to the west of the site. Mangroves border both Mt. Hartman Bay and Woburn Bay and are used for fishing. A housing development borders the site to the north and a marina to the west (Woburn Bay).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Mount Hartman was designated a national park in 1996 to protect L. wellsi. Disturbance from foot traffic and grazing are primarily confined to the lowlands outside the park, but grazing does sometimes occur within the park boundaries. Cutting for charcoal rarely occurs inside the park. Predators (rats Rattus spp., mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus and feral cats) may affect the bird populations (including L. wellsi). Hurricane Ivan caused extreme changes to vegetation structure and composition, and to the availability of resources used by the dove. The Mount Hartman Estate, previously government-owned, was sold (in 2008, excluding the national park) to a private developer for a large-scale tourism development involving a hotel, golf course and over a hundred villas. In conjunction with the development, the national park boundaries were re-designated to embrace the dove’s centre of abundance and a contiguous area of suitable dove habitat. Mitigation measures have also been put in place to minimize the impact on critical dove habitat.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
1.Grenada Dove Research Coordinator. Bonnie L. Rusk. . Coordinating Grenada Dove research and conservation activities with Forestry and National Parks. Current research (2002-2006) part of the Grenada Dry Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project (GEF/Government of Grenada-funded) and includes implementation of the research portion of the Grenada Dove Recovery Plan (1997). This IBA, as critical habitat for the Grenada Dove, is a focus of the research.1.Dry Forest Research. Conducted as part of the Grenada Dry Forest Biodiversity Conservation Project. Research on dry forest ecology, entomology conducted. Research on Grenada Hook-billed Kite conducted by Peregrine Fund. Reptile/amphibian research carried out by Milwaukee Public Museum.2.Mt. Hartman Visitor Center. The National Park will be an educational site for Grenadian and other visitors. A visitor center opened (March 2006) to educate visitors about the dry forest of Grenada and its component species.3.Forestry and National Park Department, Government of Grenada. Responsible for the management of the Mt. Hartman National Park and protection of Grenada's wildlife, including the Grenada Dove and other rare and/or threatened species.

Protected areas
This IBA is threatened by a resort development due to the amendment to National Park legislation (see above). Mt. Hartman National Park (60ha) was established in 1996. The National Park boundary is the IBA boundary. The site is protected under Grenada's National Parks and Protected Areas Act (No. 42, 1990). Additional lands adjacent to the National Park have been surveyed, though have not yet formally added to the site. A 2007 amendment to the National Park legislation permits the national park to be sold.

Author: Bonnie L. Rusk

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Mount Hartman. Downloaded from on 28/02/2024.