Mount Sage

BVITIPA011
Mount Sage

Country: British Virgin Islands

Administrative region: Tortola (Province)

Central co-ordinates: 18.40568 N, 64.65948 W

Area: 2.99km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, A(iii)Site contains one or more highly 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 area qualified as a TIPA for being one of only two locations where the Upland evergreen forest habitat occurs in the BVI and for the presence of many rare regional endemic species and globally threatened species.

Site description

The TIPA covers higher elevations of Mount Sage, 222 m and above, cutting across the mountain to exclude the Edney settlement. It includes all of Sage Mountain National Park, which is the only Forestry Reserve in the BVI (declared in 1954), and the first BVI National Park (declared in 1964), designated to protect rare and threatened plant species, small tracts of primary forest, watersheds and biodiversity.

Botanical significance

The area is botanically rich. Several globally threatened and species of national high conservation importance have been recorded growing along Mount Sage’s ridge and at higher elevations within the TIPA. This includes the whole national populations of the Puerto Rican Bank endemics Ilex urbaniana (VU) and Miconia thomasiana (NT). Species that in the BVI are only known from Tortola and with important populations growing in this TIPA are the threatened CITES listed economic species Cedrela odorata (VU), the Virgin Islands endemic Pilea sanctae-crucis (EN) and the naturally occurring Virgin Islands endemic aroid Anthurium x selloum. The only record in the BVI for the Greater Antilles threatened Picrasma excelsa (VU) is a single historical herbarium specimen from 1954 for this area on Tortola, but this species hasn’t been found in modern surveys. Two rare tree species which only grow in the Upland evergreen forest habitat on Tortola and Virgin Gorda are the Virgin Islands endemic Calyptranthes thomasiana (EN) and the Puerto Rican Bank endemic Calyptranthes kiaerskovii (CR), both highly threatened because of their restricted distribution and small number of individuals. Despite trees being observed in flower and fruit, insect pests are a current threat.

Habitat and geology

The nationally threatened Upland evergreen forest habitat covers almost all this TIPA, transitioning to Seasonally deciduous forests and woodlands at its southern and eastern boundaries. This upland habitat is rare in the BVI, occurring at higher elevations (about 100-500m) where there is enough moisture. It is present on only two islands, Tortola having 95.83% of the national resource for this habitat and Virgin Gorda only 4.17%. The site qualified under sub-criterion C(iii) for its importance for the conservation of this nationally threatened habitat. Anthropogenic habitat is present in only 1% of this TIPA.

Conservation issues

Threats include invasive plants and pests, grazing by feral animals and illegal farming. Many trees were lost in 2017 during and after Hurricane Irma because of the area’s elevation and exposure. The increase in intensity of hurricanes predicted for the region poses a threat to the habitats and threatened species within the TIPA.

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
Cedrela odorata L. A(i) False True False False False
Ilex urbaniana Loes. A(i) False True False False False
Picrasma excelsa (Sw.) Planch. A(i) False True False False False
Pilea sanctae-crucis Liebm. A(i) False True False False False
Anthurium × selloanum K.Koch A(iii) False True False 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:

Cedrela odorata L.

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:

Ilex urbaniana Loes.

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:

Picrasma excelsa (Sw.) Planch.

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:

Pilea sanctae-crucis Liebm.

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:

Anthurium × selloanum K.Koch

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(iii)
≥ 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:

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
Upland Evergreen Forest C(iii) False False True

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 (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Mount Sage (British Virgin Islands). https://tipas.kew.org/site/mount-sage/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)

Acknowledgement

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