All CEP Technical Reports
CEP Technical Report No. 36 1996: Status of Protected
Area Systems in the Wider Caribbean Region
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Area 261 sq. km.
Protected Areas (PAs)
|PAs with Marine or Coastal Zones||Extension|
|World Heritage Sites||0||0||0|
Policy and Legislation
A recent environmental profile (CCA/IRF 1991) highlights recommendations regarding the development of protected areas. Further, it is recommended that the government give early attention to the development of a comprehensive plan which approaches the subject of national parks and protected areas from a national perspective, and which includes identification of appropriate mechanisms for co-ordinating management responsibilities within a national system. Allocation of manpower resources for enforcement and management activities should be made on the basis of priorities established in the plan.
The legal basis resource management is provided by the National Conservation and Environment Protection Act No. 5 (NCEPA), 1987 which covers management and development of natural and historic resources, establishment of protected areas, and the establishment of an advisory Conservation Commission.
Any protected area designated under this Act has the following broad purposes and objectives: to preserve the biological diversity of wild flora and fauna and the associated land and marine habitats, to protect selected examples of representative or unique biological communities, to sustain basic ecological processes including water recharge and soil regeneration; and to protect selected natural sites of scenic beauty or of special scientific, ecological, historical or educational value, including sites that are already degraded and need protection.
Part II of the Act describes and provides for the establishment of protected areas, identified as national parks, nature reserves, botanical gardens, marine reserves, protected marine areas, historic sites, scenic sites, or areas of special concern (Annex I). Under Part IV of the Act, authority is conferred on the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society to make and enforce regulations for that area of the same name. When a proposed protected area includes private land, the Minister of Development can either expropriate or enter into an agreement with the land owner for the right of access, and the right to control such land.
The Fisheries Act No. 4, 1984, modelled on the unified draft circulated by FAO, provides for the establishment of marine reserves and priority fishing areas, and authorises the Minister to make regulations for the management and protection of such areas (Annex I). Although none has yet been declared (OECS 1986), the Conservation Commission is actively studying proposals to implement the act (Archibold, pers. comm., 1991).
The legal authority to designate a marine area as a national park, marine reserve or a protected area is given in both Part II, Section 3-6 of the National Conservation and Environmental Protection Act and Part II, Section 23 (a-d) of the Fisheries Act. Although neither act specifies an administrative authority to manage such an area, both acts assign sufficient authority to the minister responsible in both fields to make declarations and rules to establish reserves and protected areas without first obtaining the consent of parliament (Anon. n.d.)
Part VII of the NCEPA covers forestry, soil and water conservation, and Section 35 provides for the establishment of forest reserves. The Minister (in consultation with the Conservation Commission) is required to establish forest management schemes and the necessary regulations, including the prohibition of livestock grazing, although, to date, no regulations have been promulgated (CCA/IRF 1991).
The Forestry Ordinance No. 10, 1903 was amended by Ordinance No. 22, 1921 and No. 5, 1928. Regulations for implementation of the legislation are found in the Forestry (St. Christopher) Regulations, the Forestry (Fuel Supply) (St. Christopher) Regulations, 1927 and the Forestry (Nevis) Regulations, 1940. These regulations mostly deal with the granting of permits for exploitation, with specific requirements for charcoal burning, control of fires and land clearing (DFS, 1983). While the Forestry Ordinance, as amended, declares as forest reserves all land covered with trees above the existing line of cultivation when the law was passed in 1903. These reserves have never been surveyed, gazetted or demarcated (Miller et al 1988). On Nevis, where land above 300 m is now totally protected through administrative means, there is interest in developing legislation which would provide authority to declare some forested areas as national parks and other protected areas (OECS 1986).
On St. Kitts, particularly, there is clearly a need for modern forestry legislation due to growing pressures on the land (OECS, 1986).
Part VI, Section 31 of the NCEPA makes provision for the protection of beaches and the coastal zone out to 2 km, and the Minister, through consultation with the Conservation Commission, is responsible for the preparation and implementation of a coastal zone management plan to regulate development. The Minister may declare certain areas to be protected beaches, where activities such as fishing, the use of boats, certain sports, mining, or removing treasures or artefacts from the sea bed are prohibited.
The Beach Control Ordinance Cap. 281, 1961 provides authority to control sand mining and construction on the foreshore (tidal zone). Use or encroachment of the foreshore or floor of the sea is prohibited, except with the permission of the Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and Development (OECS 1986).
The South-east Peninsula Act designates the whole peninsula as a conservation area, with purposes clearly laid out in the act (Archibold, pers. comm., 1991).
Conventions and Treaties
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992)
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)
Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage, 1972)
Programmes & Associations
Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA, 1967)
Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP, 1981) and its Specially Protected Areas & Wildlife Programme (SPAW, 1990)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing and Development is the leading agency for the protection and conservation of natural resources (Anon. n.d.). The advisory Conservation Commission carries out the Ministry's functions of selection, management, and administration of protected areas. The Commission is required to prepare management plans for protected areas, which are approved by the Minister and reviewed at least every five years.
The Commission currently consists of eight members; the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and up to three other representatives are appointed by the Minister, while the six remaining members are drawn from the Nevis Island Administration, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society, and from the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. The 1992 budget for current expenditures was US$100,000.
The Minister may, however, delegate powers and functions to a competent authority (as defined) to manage and administer any particular protected area. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society, a local NGO originally established in 1965, runs the protected area of the same name in this role.
The principal non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Nevis concerned with environmental issues is the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, which, inter alia, aims to promote and facilitate the protection and preservation of the ecology and natural life forms on the island. On St. Kitts, the St. Christopher Heritage Society has as its major goals and objectives the safeguarding and preservation of the country's environmental, historical, and cultural national heritage.
According to Mills (1988), it is generally accepted that about 37% of the land area of St. Kitts (approximately 6,500 ha) is covered by forest. Nearly all forested areas, except for the South-east Peninsula, are owned by the government (CCA/IRF 1991). The forest on Nevis is similar to that on St. Kitts and covers 20% (1,900 ha) of the island. The St. Kitts forest cover can be classified as follows: rain and cloud forest (2,300 ha); moist forest (2,100 ha) and dry forest (2,100 ha) (CCA/IRF 1991).
The availability and quality of ground water on St. Kitts is better than on Nevis. Wetlands and ponds cover about 240 ha of St. Kitts, and are found in the south-east as well as at Great Heed Pond, Conarce. Nevis has four wetlands, Cotton Ground, Pinneys, Hurricane Hill and the Bogs at Bath. Both islands have beaches and coral reefs to the south that are relatively unspoiled.
Development of a protected areas systems is still quite limited. Brimstone Hill Fortress was established as the first protected area in 1985, the second being the South-east Peninsula Conservation Area. While a number of potential sites have been identified, they have not been established. A summary of proposed protected areas is given in CCA/IRF (1991).
The main threat to the forest is loss of trees to charcoal burning, although under the 1987 Act the Minister can regulate charcoal burning and its export. There has been a trend towards the abandonment of upper hill slopes for agriculture in favour of more suitable sites, and some areas are reverting to secondary forest. FAO, under the auspices of the Tropical Forestry Action Plan, is currently involved in developing forestry programmes which aim to protect forest resources on St. Kitts.
The establishment and management of the South-east Peninsula Marine Park and Recreation Area is outlined in a recent marine parks and recreation plan (Anon. n.d.), and the Conservation Commission is attempting to set up a marine park system under the Fisheries Act.
The SE Peninsula & proposed Sandy Point Marine Protected Areas are being affected by recreational use (anchoring of dive boats, diver impact, souvenir collection), conflicts between dive boat operators and local fishermen, coastal zone development, and sand movement leading to increased sedimentation. The lack of participation and personnel limits effectiveness (van't Hof 1993).
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), also supports St. Kitts (South-eastern Peninsula) in its goal to strengthen local capacity to manage the living natural resources critical to development in the Caribbean region (Putney and Renard, n.d.). The Caribbean Conservation Association and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute are currently working together on a marine parks programme and the "Caribbean Heritage Programme" for institutional development in support of the region's natural heritage at national and regional levels (ECNAMP 1989).
Williams (1984) identified and discussed three problems relating to the management of natural resources: loss of agricultural land to urbanisation; exploitation of fisheries; and sand utilisation. The impact of sand mining has been assessed, and recommendations by a Cabinet committee are being implemented by the Conservation Commission under the provisions of the National Conservation and Environment Protection Act (1987).
The Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Housing, and Development, Government Headquarters, PO Box 186, BASSETERRE Tel: (809) 465-2521 Fax: (809) 465-1001
Ministry of Development and Planning, Church Street, PO Box 186, BASSETERRE
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society, PO Box 588, BASSETERRE, St. Kitts
Historical and Conservation Society, Hamilton House, CHARLESTOWN, Nevis
St. Christopher Heritage Society, P.O. Box 338, Bank Street, BASSETERRE Tel: (809) 465-5584
Anon. (n.d.) A marine parks and recreation plan for the South-east Peninsula of St. Kitts. Draft. 18 pp.
CCA/IRF (1991) St. Kitts and Nevis: environmental profile. Caribbean Conservation Association, St. Michael, Barbados/Island Resources Foundation, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. 277 pp.
DFS (1983) Regional Forestry Sector Study Country Reports. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia. Deutsche Forstinventur. (Unseen).
ECNAMP (1989) Eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Programme - Annual report 1988. ECNAMP, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. 17 pp.
Hunter, B. (1991) The Statesman's Year-Book. The Macmillan Press Ltd., London. 1692 pp.
IRF (1991) Directory of environmental NGOs in the Eastern Caribbean. Island Resources Foundation, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. p.24-p.26.
Miller, G.A., Fujita, M.S. and Ford, L.B. (1988) Biological forests diversity and tropical forests assessment. Annex to RDO/C action plan, FY88-89. USAID/RDO/C, Bridgetown, Barbados. (Unseen)
Mills, H (1988) Wildlife management in St. Kitts. Proceedings of the fourth workshop of the Caribbean foresters, Dominica, April 4-6, 1988. Institute of Tropical Forestry, Rio Piedras, PR.
OECS (1986) St. Kitts - Nevis: description of national legislation related to natural resources management (first stage analysis). Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States - Natural Resources Management Project, Castries. 14 pp.
Putney, A. and Renard, Y. (n.d.) Caribbean Natural Resources Institute: Working to strengthen human capacity to manage living natural resources critical to development. Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.
Williams, V.O. (1984) St. Kitts-Nevis. In: Wood, J. (Ed.), Proceedings for the workshop on biosphere reserves and other protected areas for sustainable development of small Caribbean islands. National Park Service, Atlanta. 190 pp.
ANNEX I: LEGAL INSTRUMENTS
Definitions of protected area designations, as legislated, together with authorities responsible for their administration.
Title: National Conservation and Environment Protection Act.
Date : 27 April 1987, effective July 1989.
Brief description: Provides for the better management and development of the natural and historic resources of Saint Christopher and Nevis for the purpose of conservation, the establishment of national parks, historic and archaeological sites and other protected areas of natural or cultural importance including the Brimstone Hill fortress National Park; the establishment of a Conservation Commission, and for other matters connected thereto.
Administrative authority: The Minister for the time being charged with the subject of development (Conservation Commission).
Protected Area A national park, nature reserve, botanic garden, marine reserve, historic site, scenic site or any other area of special concern or interest designated under Section 3(1) of the Act. The Act also allows for the creation of forest reserves. The Minister is empowered to lay down provisions regarding the management of such areas, making it a crime to remove coral, flora or fauna, to dig or remove artefacts, to pollute the water, or to deposit waste material.
National Park Consisting of a relatively large land or marine area, or some combination of land or sea, containing natural and cultural features or scenery of national or international significance and managed in a manner to protect such resources and sustain scientific, recreational and educational activities on a controlled basis.
Nature Reserve Containing outstanding or fragile natural features or life forms of national importance that need protection in an undisturbed state where the only permitted activities are management measures, controlled scientific research and educational study.
Marine Reserve An area provided for in Section 23 of the Fisheries Act 1984. Such areas may be declared to protect valuable flora and fauna and their aquatic habitats, areas for scientific research and sites of natural beauty. Fishing or the taking or destroying of any flora or fauna is prohibited except by permit when needed for proper management.
Source: FAO Legislation (37):227-247
Title: The Forestry Ordinance No. 10
Date: 1903; amended by Ordinance No. 22, 1921 and No. 5, 1928.
Brief description: Declares as forest reserves all land covered with trees above the existing line of cultivation when the law was passed in 1903.
Administrative authority: Forestry Board
Forest Reserve Prohibited activities include the grazing of cattle.
Source: FAO Legislation (37):227-247; Miller et al (1988)
ANNEX II: ST. KITTS & NEVIS PROTECTED AREAS LIST
|Name of area||IUCN & National Mgmt. Categories||Presence of Marine or Coastal Zones||Area
|Brimstone Hill Fortress||n.d.||NP||n.d.||n.d.||1985|
|Southeast Peninsula Recreation Area||II||RA||YES||2,610||n.d.|
NP= National Park
RA= Recreation Area
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