Central Virgin Gorda

BVITIPA003
Central Virgin Gorda

Country: British Virgin Islands

Administrative region: Virgin Gorda (Island)

Central co-ordinates: 18.48477 N, 64.40129 W

Area: 7.8km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, A(iv)Site contains one or more range restricted endemic species that are potentially threatened, B(ii)Site contains an exceptional number of species of high conservation importance, C(iii)Site contains nationally threatened or restricted habitat or vegetation types, AND/OR habitats that have severely declined in extent nationally

IPA assessment rationale

This TIPA is an important site for two of the threatened habitats (Semi-deciduous gallery forest and Upland evergreen forest) and an area with high botanical richness where seven globally threatened plant species grow.

Site description

This TIPA is in the central area of Virgin Gorda, the third largest island in the BVI, from Anguilla Point and Long Bay in the north to Lower Soldier Bay and South Sound Bluff in the south. It includes the entire Gorda Peak National Park, the proposed South Sound West Habitat Management Area and a small part of the proposed Savannah Bay Habitat Management Area.

Botanical significance

Very important populations of the regional endemics and globally threatened Calyptranthes kiaerskovii (CR), Calyptranthes thomasiana (EN) and Maytenus cymosa (EN) occur in the Upland evergreen forest habitat within the national park. Several globally threatened species are found growing on the hills of Gorda Peak towards the coast. The Puerto Rican Bank endemic Zanthoxylum thomasianum (EN), which only occurs on the islands of Virgin Gorda and Tortola in the BVI, have >1% of their global population within the TIPA’s boundaries. Important populations of Machaonia woodburyana (EN) grow here, a species only found on Virgin Gorda in the BVI, along with Peperomia wheeleri (EN) and the Range Restricted Endemic (RRE) bromeliad Tillandsia x lineatispica. Other important plants within this TIPA are large populations of the Puerto Rican Bank endemic Malpighia woodburyana (VU), locally known as mad dog because of its stinging hairs, the BVI endemic Metastelma anegadense (EN), Virgin Islands endemic Croton fishlockii (NT) and the Puerto Rican bank endemics Agave missionum (VU), Psychilis macconnelliae (NT) and Tolumnia prionochila (NT).

Habitat and geology

Most of the threatened Upland evergreen forest habitat in Virgin Gorda is within the Gorda Peak National Park protected area located in the centre of this TIPA. This is one of only two islands in the BVI where this habitat occurs, the other being Tortola which has most of the national resource for this habitat (95.83%). Gorda Peak uplands have higher humidity than lower areas, thus providing habitat for unique and rare plants. This area has had limited past disturbance by agriculture due to its steep, rocky hillsides and is mostly threatened by feral animals grazing. Going down towards the coast along the ghuts within this TIPA there are excellent examples of the threatened habitat Semi-deciduous gallery forest (part of the 2nd and 4th best sites for this threatened habitat in the BVI). In the lower areas of this TIPA, the Seasonally deciduous forest and woodland still have several rare and threatened species, despite past disturbances.

Conservation issues

Threats to this TIPA include grazing by feral animals, invasive species, illegal extraction and urban development. Additionally, there has been illegal encroachment along the park boundary by farmers and associated fire risk from agricultureal practices, besides illegal clearance within the park for marijuana farming.

Site assessor(s)

BVI TIPAs National Team, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; National Parks Trust of the Virgin islands; BVI Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration

IPA criterion A species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Calyptranthes kiaerskovii Krug & Urb. A(i) False True False False False
Calyptranthes thomasiana O.Berg A(i) False True False False False
Machaonia woodburyana Acev.-Rodr. A(i) False True False False False
Maytenus cymosa Krug & Urb. A(i) True False False False False
Peperomia wheeleri Britton A(i) False True False False False
Zanthoxylum thomasianum Krug & Urb. A(i) True False False False False
Tillandsia × lineatispica Mez A(iv) False True False False False
Agave missionum Trel. A(i) False False False False False
Metastelma anegadense Britton A(i) False False False False False
Malpighia woodburyana Vivaldi A(i) False False True False False

Calyptranthes kiaerskovii Krug & Urb.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Calyptranthes thomasiana O.Berg

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Machaonia woodburyana Acev.-Rodr.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Maytenus cymosa Krug & Urb.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Peperomia wheeleri Britton

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Zanthoxylum thomasianum Krug & Urb.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Tillandsia × lineatispica Mez

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iv)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Agave missionum Trel.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Metastelma anegadense Britton

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Malpighia woodburyana Vivaldi

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
Semi-deciduous Gallery Forest C(iii) False False True
Upland Evergreen Forest C(iii) False False True

Semi-deciduous Gallery Forest

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
False
≥ 10% of national resource:
False
Areal coverage at site:

Upland Evergreen Forest

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
False
≥ 10% of national resource:
False
Areal coverage at site:

Bibliography

The BVI TIPAs National Team, 2019

Identifying and Conserving Tropical Important Plant Areas in the British Virgin Islands (2016-2019): Final Technical Report

Available online

Recommended citation

BVI TIPAs National Team (2021) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Central Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands). https://tipas.kew.org/site/central-virgin-gorda/ (Accessed on 13/06/2021)

Acknowledgement

Map of the BVI TIPAs Network available from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World