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Morne Trois Pitons


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Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Morne Trois Pitons National Park, located in the southern half of the island of Dominica, is the most outstanding example of tropical rainforest in the Lesser Antilles. The area is the home to the largest native tribe in the Caribbean, the Carib Indian nation, and claims the headwaters of all rivers in southern Dominica.  Serving as home to the Carib Indians and supporting 70,000 visitors a year, while protecting the park’s biodiversity and its value as a vital water source for much of the country, are among the many complex challenges faced by this park.

did you know

In 1996, Morne Trois Pitons was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and in 1998 it was inscribed as the first World Natural Site in the Eastern Caribbean. Parks in Peril was also recognized by UNESCO for its work towards this accomplishment.

Uplands of Morne Trois Pitons

Uplands of Morne Trois Pitons © Pat Rolston/TNC

 

site profile

total area protected:
16,945 acres
map of site

ecoregion:
Windward Inland Moist Forests

partner organization:
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Wildlife Division

Ecological Importance

Volcanoes, deep valleys, fumaroles, hot springs, waterfalls, freshwater lakes, and a “boiling lake” are some of the spectacular natural features found in Morne Trois Pitons. Several peaks of volcanic origin rise above 4,000 feet and are home to numerous distinct habitats, including elfin, montane, and mature rainforests. These forests are among the last refuges for two of the most endangered parrots in the world, the Imperial and Red-necked Amazons, known locally as the Sisserou and Jaco. The park also hosts large populations of bats, butterflies, reptiles, orchids, and trees found nowhere else in the world.

Threats

Morne Trois Pitons is threatened by uncontrolled tourism and major cruise ship visitation. The park’s resources have been compromised by a large hydroelectric project, which went forward without proper ecological assessments, and is now the cause of increased soil erosion, stream sedimentation, and landslides. Illegal logging and boundary pressure from agriculture also pose threats to the park. One of the most significant challenges, however, has been the limited amount of staff and financial resources to respond to these threats.

A Strategy of Success

When Parks in Peril (PiP) funding began in 1992, the Dominican Forestry and Wildlife Division quickly mitigated several of the problems faced by Morne Trois Pitons. Basic administrative improvements were made with directors for the national park system. PiP helped Morne Trois Pitons hire ten on-site staff, build a park headquarters office, and establish a full radio communication system. The park was then able to obtain other equipment needed to conduct park management and research, including a truck, computer and software, printer, and a fax machine. Surveys of nearby government and private lands were completed for future park acquisitions at Emerald Pool and Freshwater Lake.

Nature guide training courses were conducted for local community members, park rangers, and even local taxicab drivers, who are often the first to greet ecotourists. These courses, which have served as models throughout PiP sites and have resulted in a sustainable source of income for local people, increase the environmental messages delivered to the many tourists who visit Dominica each year. A country wide park fee policy was also established to ensure that visitation fees are reinvested in conservation.

Upon site consolidation in 1996, long lasting partnerships with the Island Resources Foundation and The Nature Conservancy were established to ensure that the future needs of Morne Trois Piton will continue to be met.

Read more about projects in Dominica...

Dominica Partner Organizations

The Nature Conservancy in Dominica