Saint Mary's Biosphere Reserve is located on the island of Saint Kitts in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The reserve is an essential site in terms of biological diversity. It is comprised of cloud forests, mangroves and coral reefs.
Saint Mary's Biosphere Reserve
Located on the island of Saint Kitts near the town of Cayon and the village of Keys, the Biosphere Reserve is an important site in terms of biological diversity. It is comprised of cloud forests, mangroves and coral reefs.
The Biosphere Reserve also includes the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is of particular historical, cultural and architectural significance.
Saint Mary's Biosphere Reserve is home to one of the most diverse natural communities on Saint Kitts, encompassing the marine area and beaches near Canada, Keys and Cayon and the surrounding tropical forests of the mountain ridge line.
Other physical features include long and narrow forested ridges with deep valley ghauts (seasonal streams) surrounded by rolling forested and agricultural hills. Many of the larger ghauts lead to sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.
The island, which remains seismically active, is composed almost exclusively of volcanic rocks of andesite or dacite mineralogy. Its geology is similar to other volcanic islands in the Lesser Antillean Archipelago. Newer volcanic rocks rest on a basement of older rocks, exposed only where more recent deposits have been denuded.
The sandy beach forms the primary nesting habitat of the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Therefore, conserving this critically endangered species is a primary goal for the biosphere reserve.
Bats are the only native terrestrial mammals in the country today. Varieties include the pig‐faced bat (Brachyphylla cavernarum), the fishing bat (Noctilio leporinus) and the Velvety House Bat (Molossus molossus).
Other animals found on the reserve include the purple-throated carib (Eulampis jugularis), Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) and lizardfish (Synodontidae).