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The tri-island State of Grenada is of volcanic origin and consists of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, which together have an area of 344 km2. Grenada is predominantly of volcanic origin, although some sedimentaryrocks of the Tertiary and Quaternary periods are present. The soils of Grenada are dominated by clay loams (84.5%) withclays (11.6%) and sandy loams (2.9%). The islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique are also of volcanic origin and represent the exposed summitsof peaks on a single narrow bank of submerged volcanic mountains.

The passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, then Hurricane Emily in 2005, and their cumulative destructive effects on Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique heightened the need toreduce human-induced influences in terms of vulnerability to naturaldisasters by placing greater emphasis on coordinated and integrated landuse planning, regularization of unplanned settlements, watershedresource conservation and rehabilitation and integration of hurricanesafety provisions in the rebuilding process.

The impacts of destructive cyclones on the watershed systems of smallislands are particularly evident in circumstances where the watershedsare highly degraded on account of unsustainable land management practices attributable to agriculture, housing or other infrastructuraldevelopment. The associated high rainfall accumulations tend to causemassive erosion in steep upland areas where the soils are renderedexposed, with consequent siltation of river channels and deposition ofsediment loads in offshore marine ecosystems.

Grenada faces challenges with maintaining a reliable supply of water especially during the drier months when demand exceeds supply and particularly at distal ends of the water distribution network. Carriacou and Petit Martinique are water-scarce since they have very limited ground water and no appreciable surface water on account of their small size. Pollution of freshwater surface and coastal waters are of increasing concern. A UN Division of Sustainable Development 2012 publication on climate change adaptation in Grenada identifies Grenada's water resources as a critical sector for priority adaptation action and for integration into national plans for sustainable development.

Main issues of concern on mainland Grenada include unsustainable land management associated with agricultural development and degradation of lowland coastal forests. Intensive grazing is of concern in the sister islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan severely impacted agriculture and forests within upper watershed areas and recovery has been of major focus in the years since then.

The key issues threatening biodiversity include climate change influences, invasive alien species proliferation, habitat degradation and fragmentation particularly in lowland forests, and pollution of freshwater and coastal receiving environments. The country has some 3 endemic animals (Grenada Frog, Grenada Dove and the Tree Boa) and at least 5 endemic plants. The flagship specie that is most highly threatened is the endemic Grenada Dove.

National Focal Point

Dillon Palmer
Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Snapshots of Biodiversity in Grenada: Grenada Snapshots of Biodiversity poster

Poster Introduction and Featured Species

download the poster

Grenada consists of three main islands: Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, with a total area of approximately 348 km². Its coastline is 121 km long and consists of diverse marine and coastal ecosystems, including mangrove swamps, coral reefs, sea grass beds, beaches, lagoons, dry woodlands and cactus shrub. Grenada’s terrestrial wildlife consists of 4 amphibian species, 8 species of lizard and 5 species of snake, 150 species of birds (18 of which are thought to be threatened or endangered), 4 native species of terrestrial mammals and 11 native species of bats.  There are 233 marine species, 69 marine/brackish water species, and several species of sea birds as well as 17 freshwater species on the main island.

Biodiversity is threatened by climate change influences, invasive alien species proliferation, habitat degradation and fragmentation particularly in lowland forests, and pollution of freshwater and coastal receiving environments.

1. Grenada Hook-billed Kite

Scientific name: Chondrohierax uncinatus mirus

Photo credit: Erson Charles

Brief description: The Grenada Hook-billed Kite is an endemic subspecies of raptor that is found in Grenada and is listed as endangered. The species was once thought to be extinct. The bird has a dark brown to black back with a barred underside of white and brown. The head of the kite is grayish with a green-blue coloration and yellow spot by the eyes. The feet of the birds are yellow, the wings are tapered at the wing base, the tail has black and white bands and the beak is deeply hooked. The habitat preferred by the Grenada Hook-Billed Kite is considered to be dry forested areas but the birds are seen in various habitat types. Tree snails are one of the bird’s favorite meals.

2. Tree Fern

Scientific Name: Cyathea tenera

Photo Credit: Dillon Palmer


Brief description: The tree fern is a primitive fern that is native to tropical forests throughout the globe. It grows in humid elevations that receive an average to high amount of precipitation. The ferns can be seen in the mountainous rainforest ecosystems on the island, typically in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve. The tree fern has a trunk structure that holds and elevates the fronds (leaf) above the ground, unlike other fern species. The trunk can grow to several meters above the ground and display its pinnate leaves. The trunk (stem) and frond leaves are covered with silky hairs.

3. Mona Monkey

Scientific name: Cercopithecus mona

Photo credit: Damarlie Antoine

Brief description: The Mona Monkey is a small, old world monkey species that originated in West Africa (Ghana) dating back to the slave trade of the 18th century. The monkey has a reddish-brown colour on the back and a white underside. There is a pale band across its forehead and a black stripe between its eyes and ears. The monkey’s mouth has a pinkish colour and the tail has a white oval patch on either side. The Mona Monkey is found throughout most parts of the island but is generally seen in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve. The species have a gestation period to 5-6 months and give birth to one offspring. The monkey can be hunted during the open season as a source of wild meat.

4. Nutmeg

Scientific name: Myristica fragrans

Photo credit: Dillon Palmer

Brief description: Nutmeg The nutmeg is an evergreen tree that grows mainly in the tropical regions of the world inclusive of the West Indies, in particular Grenada. The tree can grow to a height of about 20 meters and can bear fruit for more than 60 years. The trees prefer to grow in mountainous areas where there is a cool temperature. The seed (nut) produced by the nutmeg tree is a prized commodity that is used in many different cuisines, dishes, beverages, medicinal remedies, pharmaceuticals and many other uses. Locally there is a nutmeg spray that is produced from the oil extracted from the nutmeg seeds. The mace which is the red casing covering the seed is also highly valuable.

5. Grenada Flycatcher

Scientific name: Myiarchus nugator

Photo credit: Damarlie Antoine

Brief description: Endemic to the southern Lesser Antilles, a clear offshoot of a South American species, the Grenada Flycatcher is a medium-sized “fly-catching” species of open woodlands and scrub including towns, preferring areas near palms.  It often sits still on perch for long periods of time before leaping forth in pursuit of insects. It has a dull brown back and a yellow belly that contrasts with its gray chest and throat. Vocalizations include an emphatic low “whip” given in a slow series and sometimes followed by a rolling “pit-it-oooo.”

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