All CEP Technical Reports
CEP Technical Report No. 36 1996: Status of Protected
Area Systems in the Wider Caribbean Region
Area 790 sq. km.
Protected Areas (PAs)
|PAs with Marine or Coastal Zones||Extension|
|World Heritage Sites||0||0||0|
Policy and Legislation
In 1783 the British obtained possession of Dominica. In 1898 Crown Colony rule was introduced, thereby placing government control for the next 70 years in London. In 1967 Dominica became a State in Association with Great Britain and achieved full independence on 3 November 1978 (Honychurch 1984).
The forest policy includes amongst its aims the introduction and protection of game animals, birds and fish, and the preservation of localities of natural scenic or scientific interest. A further goal is to encourage the management of forest reserves and protected forests in the interests of soil and water conservation. Other objectives include the development of a national parks system, the protection and development of wildlife and wildlife preserves, the enactment of appropriate research, and improvement to the infrastructure of the protected areas administration.
The National Parks and Protected Areas Act No. 16, 1975 provides the main legislation for the protected areas system (Annex I). This Act authorises the Minister of Agriculture, by order, to set aside state lands for protected areas in the form of national parks, historic sites, and recreational areas, and specifies regulations the Minister may make for such areas. The Act also outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Director of National Parks and support staff, and provides for a National Parks Advisory Council although this had not been established by 1986 (OECS 1986). As of 1985, park regulations had not yet been enacted (Wright 1985). The Forestry and Wildlife Act No. 12, 1976, and the Forestry and Wildlife (Amendment) Act (No. 35), 1982 focuses on the protection of wildlife within forests and provides for the creation of wildlife reserves (Annex I).
The Forest Ordinance Cap. 80, 1959 covers the designation of forest reserves, including the designation of private lands as protected forest for water or soil conservation or other public purposes (Annex I). Under this ordinance, one water catchment area on private land was declared a protected forest under the Stuart Hall Catchment Rules No. 11, 1975 (Annex I). The Forest Rules (SRO 17, 1972), made under the Ordinance, specify prohibited activities in forest reserves and gives details on the issuing of licenses and permits for harvesting forest produce, and outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Chief Forest Officer.
In 1987, Dominica adopted the harmonised fisheries legislation (Fisheries Act No. 11) accepted by other East Caribbean islands, which allows for the establishment of marine reserves. The Act also provides for the establishment of local fisheries management areas, and authorises fisheries research, prohibits the use of explosives or chemicals for fishing, and provides for the promulgation of regulations (Annex I). The Act is supported by the Fisheries Regulations, 1989. The Beach Control Ordinance (No. 21), 1966 prohibits the use of beaches for public or commercial purposes without a license.
The Crown Lands Ordinance, 1960 and the Crown Lands Regulations, 1961 govern the sale and release of government land. There is a tendency to transfer to private ownership unallocated government land not included within national parks or forest reserves, including land that was not well suited to agriculture (Miller et al 1988, Williams, pers. comm., 1992). This has since been improved through a co-ordinated approach by the Forestry and Wildlife Division and Lands and Surveys Division (CCA 1991).
Amendments required to national parks legislation include clarification that both land and water (fresh and marine) elements may be included in the national park system, and regulations to address questions of prohibited and permitted activities within the parks. It has been suggested that camping, carrying of firearms, sand mining, and quarrying all need to be controlled or prohibited in such areas (OECS 1986).
Two aspects of current forestry legislation which are considered weak, are that penalties for forest offences are too low for deterrence, and that there is no mechanism for ongoing co-ordination of decision-making between forestry and other sectors concerning land-use planning and development control (OECS 1986). Forestry legislation needs to be consolidated and strengthened and a legal framework for the management and development of the interconnected coastal resources is required. Currently, historical and archaeological resources are without protection unless they fall within the boundaries of the legislated national parks.
Conventions & Treaties
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992)
Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention, 1983)
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 1973)
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS, 1982)
Programmes & Associations
Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA, 1967)
Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP, 1981) and its Specially Protected Areas & Wildlife Programme (SPAW, 1990)
The Forestry and Wildlife Division in the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for all matters pertaining to forestry and wildlife management, and all protected areas in the country are under the management control of this Division. The most important legislation pertaining to the creation and responsibilities of the Division is the Forestry and Wildlife Act, 1976. The Division is headed by the Director of Forestry and Wildlife and includes a Superintendent of National Parks. As of 1991, there were two forest officers, five assistant forest officers, two forest technicians, five forest rangers, and eleven forest guards, as well as 75 labourers.
The National Parks and Protected Areas Act, 1975 is administered by the Parks Section, a separate unit within the Forestry and Wildlife Division. The Parks Section has the responsibility of preparing park management plans for the approval of the Minister. For example, a ten-year management plan has been compiled for Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Scheele 1989).
Actual government capital expenditure on parks and protected areas for the financial year 1991-1992 amounted to EC$926,300 (US$349,547), and forestry division recurrent expenditure during the same period amounted to EC$1,266,730 (US$478,011).
The Fisheries Development Division (FDD) within the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for overseeing the optimal utilisation of marine resources, and includes managing programmes of public awareness on endangered species, marine reserve establishment and conservation, and coastal zone management. The Division is relatively small and has eight core staff positions (CCA 1991).
The principal non-governmental organisation (NGO) concerned with environmental issues is the Dominica Conservation Association (DCA), established in 1981, which seeks judicious management of the country's natural and cultural resources through appropriate measures. Projects which DCA are involved in include development of agroforestry and long-term development planning for the Cabrits National Park (IRF 1991).
The CCA in collaboration with CANARI (Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, formerly the Eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Programme - ECNAMP), are responsible for implementing the Caribbean Heritage Programme, which seeks to provide institutional support to organisations in order to improve their capacity to preserve important natural areas (IRF 1991). These two organisations, together with the Canadian International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD), have been working on a Marine Parks Programme for the Caribbean region (ECNAMP 1988). CANARI is also involved in the development of Cabrits National Park and a National Parks and Forest System Plan for Dominica (Putney and Renard, n.d.).
The Island Resources Foundation launched a two-year project in November 1986, in partnership with WWF-US and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, aimed at strengthening private sector natural resource management programmes in the Eastern Caribbean. Dominica was one of the target islands of this programme, which focused largely on encouraging improved programme planning, proposal writing, project management, communication, fund raising and administration.
The CCA and IUCN are currently collaborating in the Natural Resources Management Programme for Sustainable Development, which is focusing on the development of national conservation strategies and environmental impact assessment support services (IRF 1991).
Dominica is a volcanic island rising to a maximum height of 1,447 m, and is part of the Windward group in the Lesser Antilles, 500 km north of Venezuela and 2,200 km south-east of Florida (Thorsell 1978). The country has a coastline of 153 km, and has limited seagrass, mangrove and coral reef habitats due to the steep topography and rugged terrain characteristic of the coast (CCA 1991). Urban and agricultural activities are limited to the coast and generally spread no more than three miles inland. The west coast of the island supports dry woodland and the east coast supports littoral vegetation. The highlands support rain and cloud forest. The protection of areas of highland serves to conserve the watershed from degradation, and to protect the native fauna and flora.
Historically, a very high proportion of Dominica has been covered with rain and montane forest. In pre-Arawak times this was approximately 90% of the land area, and in 1945 forest still covered approximately 80% of the island (Evans 1988). Only in the last 30 years (and in particular during the last ten years) has widespread forest clearance taken place mainly for agriculture. Half the population are subsistence farmers who clear land for agriculture (Wright 1985). Today, some 52,000 ha, or 68% of total land area, comprise natural forest, woodland and bush (CCA 1991).
Steep topography, high relief, and considerable micro-climatic variability have a strong influence on the distribution of vegetation types. Littoral woodlands occur within the immediate coastal zone of the windswept east side of the island. Scrub and savannah vegetation are found along the leeward coast which comprises the driest part of the country. Mature forest, montane thicket, and elfin woodlands occur only in the high rainfall interior. Rain forests, mature and secondary, are found in well-drained areas of intermediate elevation and moderate rainfall.
Freshwater swamps and mangroves are rare. The former occur mainly along stream outlets in the north-east and north-west. Small stands of mangrove are present along the north-west and north-east coasts. In addition fumarole vegetation can be found in selected areas, primarily in the Valley of Desolation just south of Boiling Lake in the south central part of the island (CCA 1991).
Although there is at present no definitive estimate of the extent of natural vegetation, the following figures are indicative: mature rain forest (24,490 ha), montane rain forest (3,640 ha), montane thicket (800 ha), elfin woodland (170 ha), littoral woodland 140 ha), scrub woodland 6,240 ha), secondary rain forest (9,090 ha), semi-evergreen rain forest (7,170 ha) and swamp (30 ha) (McKenzie 1987). A high percentage of this forest is protected in four conservation areas: Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Cabrits National Park, Northern Forest Reserve and Central Forest Reserve.
Dominica's five protected areas cover over 9,500 ha, nearly 80% of which are included in national parks. Protected Areas cover the equivalent of 23% of the landmass of the island. Only Cabrits National Park contains marine or coastal resources (Summary Table and Annex II).
The development of protected areas legislation and the first national park are described in detail by Wright (1985). In 1961 Dominica had no parks, no enabling legislation, no management capacity, and little public awareness or political support for parks or conservation in general. Proposals for a national park were first made shortly thereafter, and then again in 1969 by the American Conservation Foundation. In 1973-74 the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) continued this work by providing financial assistance through the Canadian Nature Foundation for development of legislation and the establishment of a park. This included support for two lawyers who developed the legislation and an in-country advisor to the Dominica Forestry Department. Morne Trois Pitons National Park was officially established in 1975 (Scott and Carbonell 1986).
The north-west of Morne Trois Pitons National Park (biologically the richest) was part of Middleham Estate and was later named the Archbold Reserve, the title to which was held by The Nature Conservancy (a US NGO). Management rights to the area were leased to the Dominican government from 1974 to 1982. In 1982 the land was formally transferred to the government. Development of the park was assisted by grants from CIDA, USAID, and the EEC, technical expertise from the OAS, while the Canadian Nature Federation was active both in the establishment of the park and in the development of the infrastructure for its effective management (Thorsell 1984; Williams, pers. comm., 1992). A second national park, Cabrits, was legally established in 1986, and development plans for this area are laid out in the document "Cabrits 2000".
An objective of the National Parks Section is to establish an internationally recognised national parks systems, comprising the following categories of protected areas: natural areas, historical, archaeological areas, recreational areas, in addition to activities related to environmental health, research and training. Work is continuing on the management plan for the proposed Morne Diablotin National Park, and an expanded parks system is likely to include areas with cultural or historical significance, and marine elements. The Fisheries Division is working on the establishment of a marine reserve in the Soufriere and Scotts Head Bay area.
To date no marine reserves have been designated, although the Cabrits National Park has a significant marine component. Lack of personnel assigned to marine component left Cabrits National Park without operational capacity from 1986 which left the area open to illegal fishing. The organisational structure of the area is also considered inadequate (van't Hof 1993).
Northern Forest Reserve in the north central portion of the island includes large tracts of habitat for the island's two endangered parrots, the imperial parrot Amazona imperialis and the red-necked parrot A. arausiaca. It is the largest tract of protected, relatively undisturbed forest in the Caribbean. The Division of Forestry and Parks has received support from WWF-US and other organisations for the study and protection of these species, and part of the reserve is being developed as the proposed Morne Diablotin National park (Grégoire, pers. comm., 1991).
As early as 1979 it was proposed that at least 13 park system units (natural monuments, marine parks, recreation areas, natural areas, national parks) and 21 forest reserves be created from land already in government ownership (Shanks and Putney 1979). Today, about 20% of the country is included within legally defined forest reserves or national parks. This is considered an inadequate basis for resource management purposes, e.g. for the protection of watersheds (60% of which are unprotected), or wildlife habitat. An ongoing FAO funded forest management project will, make recommendations for more specific conservation and management measures within the forestry sector (Grégoire, pers. comm., 1991).
Impacts ranging from construction and agricultural (pesticide use) activities to tourism developments and pollution of one kind or another are threatening coastal resources in the country (CCA 1991). Further, deforestation is considered to be one the most important environmental issues. Driven by agricultural expansion and timber harvesting, the area under cultivation (26,390 ha) is already greater than that envisaged by the government for the year 2001 (23,700 ha). Estimates of encroachment in forest reserves and national parks range from 20 ha to nearly 2,000 ha.
Perhaps the most fundamental problem facing the managers of Dominica's forests is the rapidly expanding pressure on this resource as a source of timber, fuelwood and charcoal, and as an area increasingly utilised for crop cultivation. However, much of this pressure could be reduced, as most of the country's requirements for forest resources or land could be met either by exploitation of land that has already been cleared or disturbed, or through more efficient use of existing resources. It has been recommended that those areas that are appropriate for wildlife conservation, watershed protection, recreation, nature tourism and biological diversity be protected. The specific recommendations of Shanks and Putney (1979) for the allocation of state lands and some private lands for protected areas status could be reviewed by forest and park staff in this regard (CCA 1991). The proposed development of hydropower within Morne Trois Pitons National Park is legal under the ministerial authority provided for within the 1975 National Parks and Protected Areas Act, although it may be considered a non-conforming use (CCA 1991).
One weakness of protected areas management is lack of co-ordination between the various agencies involved (OECS 1986). For example, there is scope for collaboration between the Fisheries Development Division and the Forestry and Wildlife Division in the management of marine areas in Cabrits National Park (CCA 1991).
Forestry and Wildlife Division (Director), Botanical Gardens, ROSEAU Tel: (809) 448-8240 to 1 ext. 417; Fax: (809) 448-7999
Dominica Conservation Association (President), PO Box 310, 59 King George Vth Street, ROSEAU Tel: (809) 448-4098
Caribbean Conservation Association (Executive Director), Savannah Lodge, The Garrison, ST. MICHAEL, Barbados Tel: (809) 426-5373 (809) 426-9635
Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (Director), 1104 Strand Street, Suite 206, CHRISTIANSTED, St Croix, US Virgin Islands 00802 Tel: (809) 773-9854 and Clarke Street, VIEUX FORT, St Lucia Tel: (809) 454-6878 (809) 454-6060
Island Resources Foundation (President), Red Hook Centre , Box 33, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands 00802 Tel: (809) 775-6225
Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Government Headquarters Roseau Tel: (809) 448-2401 Fax: (809) 448-7999
CCA (1991) Dominica: environmental profile. Caribbean Conservation Association, St Michael, Barbados. 239 pp.
ECNAMP (1988) Annual report. Eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Programme, Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. 17 pp.
Evans, P.G.H. (1988) The conservation status of the imperial and red-necked parrots on the island of Dominica, West Indies. ICBP Study Report No. 27. ICBP, Cambridge, UK. 40 pp.
Honychurch, L. (1984) The Dominica story: A history of the island. The Dominica Institute, Roseau, Dominica. (Unseen).
IRF (1991) Directory of environmental NGOs in the Eastern Caribbean. Island Resources Foundation, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. pp. 12-15.
McKenzie, T. (1987) Preliminary land use map of Dominica. Prepared for Government of Dominica and Dept. Reg. Dev., Organisation of American States, Washington, DC. (Unseen)
Miller, G.A., Fujita, M.S. and Ford, L.B. (1988) RDO/C biological diversity and tropical forests assessment. Annex to RDO/C action plan, FY 88-89. USAID/RDO/C, Bridgetown, Barbados.
OECS (1986) Dominica, description of national legislation related to natural resources management (first stage analysis). Natural Resources Management Project. Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Castries, St Lucia. 15 pp.
Putney, A. and Renard, Y. (n.d.) Working to strengthen human capacity to manage living natural resources critical to development. Caribbean Natural Resources Institute. CANARI, Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.
Scott, D.A. and Carbonell, M. (1986) Directory of Neotropical protected areas. IWRB, Slimbridge and IUCN, Cambridge, UK. 684 pp.
Shanks, D.L. and Putney, A.D. (1979) Dominica forest and park system plan. Eastern Caribbean Natural Areas Management Programme, Roseau. 155 pp.
Scheele, R. (1989) Morne Trois Pitons National Park management plan, 1990-2000. Draft report prepared for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Dominica. OAS, Washington, DC. (Unseen)
Thorsell, J.W. (1984) National parks from the ground up: experience from Dominica, West Indies. In: McNeely, J.A. and Miller, K.R. (Eds.), National parks, conservation and development. The role of protected areas in sustaining society. Proceedings of the World Congress on National Parks, Bali, Indonesia, 11-22 October 1982. pp. 616-621.
Thorsell, J.W. (1978) Thinking like an Island. Interpretation in Dominica, West Indies. The Interpreter X(1):6-9.
Wright, R.M. (1985) Morne Trois Pitons: case study in park establishment in the developing world. Unpublished report.
ANNEX I: LEGAL INSTRUMENTS
Definitions of protected area designations, as legislated, together with authorities responsible for their administration.
Title: National Parks and Protected Areas Act (No. 16)
Brief description: Concerning the creation of national parks and protected areas. Establishes a National Parks Advisory Council.
Administrative authority: National Parks Section, Forestry and Wildlife Division.
NATIONAL PARKS SYSTEM All land in the parks and all lands set aside as protected areas shall constitute the national parks system and are hereby vested in the Crown and dedicated to the people of Dominica for their benefit, education and enjoyment. Compatible activities on such lands include outdoor recreation, education, and scientific study. Prohibited activities include agriculture, logging, settlement, and hunting. The Act also empowers the Director of National Parks to prepare park management plans to guide all activities and operations in each park.
National Park Comprises those lands defined in the schedule to the Act.
Protected Area The Minister may by order set apart any state lands as a protected area for the purpose of preserving the natural beauty of such an area, including flora and fauna; creating a recreational area; commemorating a historical event of national importance; or preserving any historic landmark or any area or object of historic, prehistoric, archaeological or scientific importance.
Source: Original legislation; OECS (1986); Shanks and Putney (1979)
Title: Forestry and Wildlife Act (No. 12)
Brief description: To provide for the protection, conservation, and management of wild mammals, freshwater fishes, amphibians, crustaceans and reptiles, and for purposes connected therewith. Establishes a Division of Forestry and Wildlife within the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries.
Administrative authority: Forestry and Wildlife Division
Wildlife Reserve Upon the recommendation of the Director of the Forestry and Wildlife Division and the Permanent Secretary, the Minister may declare any area, any stream, impoundment or portion thereof to be a wildlife reserve in which hunting, fishing or taking of one or more species shall be prohibited.
Source: Original legislation.
Title: Forestry and Wildlife Act (Amendment Act)
Brief description: No information.
Administrative authority: Forestry and Wildlife Division.
Designations: No information.
Source: Lausche (1986)
Title: Forest Ordinance
Brief description: Provides for the designation of forest reserves and control over forest produce. Provides for the designation of private land as protected forest for water and soil conservation and other public purposes (e.g. Stewart Hall Water Catchment No. 11, 1975).
Administrative authority: Forestry and Wildlife Division
Forest Reserve Any area declared by the Administrator in Council by notice in the Gazette to be a forest reserve.
Protected Forest Any area of private land declared by the Administrator in Council by notice in the Gazette to be a protected forest. Such areas are created to prevent soil erosion, flooding, to maintain water supplies, and for securing the proper management of timber lands. The Administrator in Council may make rules to regulate or prohibit the felling, cutting, burning, or injuring of any trees or timber; the clearing of lands for cultivation; the pasturing of livestock; and the setting of fires.
Prohibited Area Any area within a forest reserve, Crown land, or protected forest into which entry is forbidden when this is necessary for any purposes of the Ordinance.
Source: Original legislation
Title: Forests Rules (No. 17)
Brief description: Rules pertaining to the use and management of forest resources within forest reserves.
Administrative authority: Forestry and Wildlife Division.
Forest Reserve Prohibited activities in such areas include the felling, cutting, burning, injuring or removing of any forest produce; squatting, residing, or building any living place or livestock enclosure, or constructing or reopening any saw pit or road; setting fire to any grass or undergrowth; grazing livestock; clearing, cultivating, or breaking up land for cultivation; and the hunting, killing or capturing of any wildlife, unless in possession of a license or permit.
Source: Original legislation
Title: Stewart Hall Water Catchment Rules
Brief description: Rules which specify authorised activities within this area.
Administrative authority: Forestry and Wildlife Division
Stewart Hall Water Catchment Protected Forest Prohibited activities include the felling, cutting, burning, injuring or removing of any forest produce; squatting, residing, building, constructing any structure or reopening any saw pit or road; setting fire to any grass or undergrowth; grazing livestock; hunting, killing or capturing any wildlife unless in possession of a license or permit to do so; storing or applying pesticides; and carrying out any planting other than reforestation on slopes of over 20. Regulations also apply to the location, design and operation of sanitary facilities for existing dwelling houses.
Source: Original legislation
Title: Fisheries Act (No. 11)
Brief description: An Act allowing for the establishment of local Fisheries Management Areas and Marine Reserves, and for regulations guiding their management.
Administrative authority: Fisheries Development Division.
Marine Reserve Fisheries Management Area
Source: CCA (1991)
ANNEX II: DOMINICA PROTECTED AREAS LIST
|Name of area||IUCN & National Mgmt. Categories||Presence of Marine or Coastal Zones||Area
|Morne Trois Pitons||II||NP||6,872||1975|
|Stewart Hall Water Catchment||VIII||PF||318||1975|
NP = National Parks
FR = Forest Reserve
PF = Protected Forest
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