Guana Island

BVITIPA009
Guana island

Country: British Virgin Islands

Administrative region: Guana (Island)

Central co-ordinates: 18.47600 N, 64.57042 W

Area: 2.93km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, B(ii)Site contains an exceptional number of species of high conservation importance

IPA assessment rationale

The entirety of Guana Island has been identified as a TIPA for its botanical richness and presence of globally threatened and endemic species. Guana Island have two of BVI’s nationally threatened habitats, Coastal shrubland and Mangroves, but it did not qualify under TIPAs sub-criterion C(iii), as the areas are small and not of national significance.

Site description

The entirety of Guana Island has been identified as a TIPA. Since 1935, the island has been privately owned and mostly uninhabited.

Botanical significance

The BVI endemic bromeliad Pitcairnia jareckii (EN), which only occurs on Guana Island, Great Camanoe and the Hawks Nest area on Tortola, is found on the northern hills of Sugar Loaf Peak in the east of Guana Island in the Seasonally deciduous forests and woodlands. The Puerto Rican Bank endemics Bastardiopsis eggersii (EN) and Malpighia woodburyana (VU), also grow here. On the southern hills of Sugar Loaf Peak towards Bigelow Beach, Monkey Point, Pinguin Ghut and Harris Ghut there is a large population of the Puerto Rican Bank endemic Agave missionum (VU). The Virgin Islands endemic Reynosia guama (NT) grows in this area along with the Puerto Rican Bank endemics Rondeletia pilosa (NT) and Psychilis macconnelliae (NT). In the White Bay area, the Puerto Rican Bank endemic Argythamnia stahlii (VU) has been observed growing in the understory. On the northernmost tip of the island between Land’s End and Long Point, one can find a population of the rare Greater Antilles endemic Sabal causiarum (VU). In the BVI, this palm is only found here and in isolated areas on the islands of Anegada, Scrub and Tortola.

Habitat and geology

Guana Island have two of BVI’s nationally threatened habitats, Coastal shrubland and Mangroves, but it did not qualify under TIPAs sub-criterion C(iii), as the areas are small and not of national significance. Most of Guana Island (>80%) is covered in Seasonally deciduous forests and woodlands.

Conservation issues

The main threats to this TIPA are urban development and grazing of the vegetation by feral animals. Guana Island’s first settlement was in the 18th century for sugarcane farming. Since 1935, the island has been privately owned and apart from the resort area and access roads between White Bay and North Bay on the western side of the island, the rest of the island remained uninhabited and large development is unlikely at present. Goats were removed from the island in the early 1900s, but sheep remained and an eradication programme is under way.

Ecosystem services

Guana is an important island for wider biodiversity and the only breeding site in the BVI for brown pelicans, besides Norman Island. More than one hundred bird species, four species of snakes, three anoles, several lizards, geckos, scorpions, spiders and beetles have been recorded in Guana Island.

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
Bastardiopsis eggersii (Baker f.) Fuertes & Fryxell A(i) False False True False False
Pitcairnia jareckii Proctor & Cedeño-Mald. A(i) True False False False False
Agave missionum Trel. A(i) False False False False False
Argythamnia stahlii Urb. A(i) False False False False False
Malpighia woodburyana Vivaldi A(i) False False False False False
Sabal causiarum (O.F.Cook) Becc. A(i) False False False False False

Bastardiopsis eggersii (Baker f.) Fuertes & Fryxell

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:

Pitcairnia jareckii Proctor & Cedeño-Mald.

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:

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:

Argythamnia stahlii Urb.

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:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:

Sabal causiarum (O.F.Cook) Becc.

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:

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: Guana Island (British Virgin Islands). https://tipas.kew.org/site/guana-island/ (Accessed on 24/10/2021)

Acknowledgement

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