Richmond Forest Reserve

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
Richmond, the second largest IBA, lies just south of La Soufrière Reserve and west of Mount Pleasant Reserve, and is found within a major hydropower catchment. Its rugged terrain supports several of the country’s rivers and waterfalls of recreational importance, and boasts spectacular mountain sceneries overlooking the Caribbean Sea. In its higher elevations, it contains a mixture of Rainforest and Montane forest. Here the river area receives in excess of 250 inches (6,350 mm) annually, and at its waterfalls between 120 (3,048 mm) and 160 inches (4,064 mm) per year (Ivor Jackson and Associates, 2004). Secondary and Dry Scrub forests are found in the lower elevations. The island’s second highest peak, Richmond (3,533 ft/1,077 m), is also found in this Reserve.

Key biodiversity
All eleven of the island’s RRS are found in this Reserve. In the past, the St. Vincent Parrot population has declined due to deforestation particularly for marijuana C. sativa cultivation (AvianEyes, 2003). Forty-three individuals are estimated to reside in this Reserve (Forestry Department, 2004). Though all three species of hummingbirds are found, the rarest, the Purple-throated Carib is more commonly found at the higher elevations. The other two species can be found distributed throughout the Reserve. The RRS Brown Trembler, Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Rufous-throated Solitaire and Lesser Antillean Euphonia are confined to the higher elevations, primarily above 1000 ft (305 m).

Non-bird biodiversity: Several species of endemic flora are found including Begonia rotundifolia, the epiphytic Peperomia cuneata and P. vincentiana, forest orchid Epidendrum vincentinum and Giant Fern Cyathea tenera . The endemic E. shrevei and C. vincenti , and endemic sub-species M. bruesi also reside in the Reserve.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Several concerns exist within this site. Deforestation activities associated with illegal marijuana C. sativa cultivation have been responsible for significant loss of forest habitat (Koester, 2000; AvianEyes, 2003). This habitat loss has caused increased rates of soil erosion and, combined with heavy rains and steep terrain, has exacerbated the area’s susceptibility to landslides. Additionally, illegal hunting of the opossum, agouti and armadillo occurs.

Protected areas
Proposed Forest reserve (under the SPAHS) and part of the proposed Central Forest Reserve (SPAHS)

Habitat and land use
Dominant rainforest trees include Dacryodes excelsa, several species of Lauraceae, Meliosma herbertii, Micropholis chrysophylloides and Sloanea caribaea , while dominant montane (elfin woodland) species include Freziera hirsuta, Prestoea Montana and Inga laurina. Loose volcanic material used in the construction industry is washed towards the coast by the Richmond River then collected and sold on the beach by locals.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Richmond Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.