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Juniperus barbadensis var. barbadensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES CUPRESSACEAE

Scientific Name: Juniperus barbadensis var. barbadensis
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Barbados Cedar, Pencil Cedar

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B2ab(iii); C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-03-08
Assessor(s): Gardner, M., Smith, M. & Graveson, R.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
The area of occupancy (AOO) has been calculated as being 4 km² which is well with the threshold of 10 km² under Critically Endangered. It is found at one location, and the quality of its habitat is continuing to decline. It is further eligible under Critically Endangered due to it having fewer than 50 individuals all of which are in a single population. Such a small and isolated population is under continuous threat from fire, pathogen attack and frequent hurricanes.
History:
1998 Critically Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Juniperus barbadensis var barbadensis occurs in a small population on St. Lucia in the West Indies where it was rediscovered in 1985.  The only known location is near to the summit of Petit Piton which is located near the towns of Soufrière and Choiseul on the southwestern coast of the island. It actually occupies an area of only 0.0006 km² (Adams et al. 1987), giving an area of occupancy (AOO) of 4 km2 (one 2 x 2 km2 grid cell). It was formerly known from Barbados but it is now extinct there having been cut before 1700 (Adams 1989) and its habitat converted to sugar cane fields over 280 years ago (Adams 1995).
Countries:
Native:
Saint Lucia
Regionally extinct:
Barbados
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It was once believed to have been common in the parishes of Choiseul and Laborie (Graveson pers. comm. in Morton 2009). According to an agricultural report for St Lucia written in 1921, (published in The Voice, April 29, 1922, p. 6) this taxon used to grow wild all along the South Western coast of the island of St Lucia, but has now been nearly all destroyed with the exception of a few trees situated at the top of the Petit Piton. Adams et al. (1987) reports that the population numbers about 30 individuals but more recent observations estimates this figure to be up to 50 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a small tree 2-6 m tall (Graveson pers. comm. in Morton 2009) of pyramidal shape on the north and west sides of Petit Piton's summit, but rounded and leaning on the windward east side (Adams 2011). It grows on rocky outcrops (volcanic origin) in deciduous seasonal forest (Graveson 2009) 30 m below the summit of a coastal mountain at an altitude of ca 700 m. Associated species include: the endemic Bernardia laurentii (sole location) and occasional small gnarled trees bent by the wind  such as Capparis indica, Casearia decandra, Daphnopsis americana, Erithalis odifera, Krugiodendron ferreum, Tabebuia heterophylla. Non-woody species include: Agave caribaeicola, Peperomia magnoliifolia, Pitcairnia angustifolia, Tillandsia fasciculata and T. utriculata.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No uses of this variety are recorded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although grazing and cutting have been listed as threats it is thought that the remnant population is more threatened by wildfire which have occurred on Petit Piton in the recent years (Graveson pers. comm in Morton 2009). Other potential threats include hurricanes and insect damage.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In St Lucia it is protected in an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The following conservation recommendations have been made (Morton 2009):
  1. Minimize the risk of wildfires by regulating access to Petit Piton and sensitizing unofficial tour guides to the dangers of fire
  2. Cultivation by Santa Lucia Forest Department (SLFD), ideally by propagation from seed to maximize genetic diversity captured
  3. Encourage cultivation for use and sale as an endemic Christmas tree
  4. Replanting (and protection) of this species in SLFD's Forest Reserves within seasonal deciduous forest (primarily the Marquis Forest Reserves; also around La Sorciere)
  5. Review and if necessary amend legislation and ensure planted trees are afforded protection from logging outside the Forest Reserves
  6. Seed banking

Citation: Gardner, M., Smith, M. & Graveson, R. 2013. Juniperus barbadensis var. barbadensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 November 2014.
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