Of Dominica’s 290 square miles, almost all of it is forest land.
There are currently three national parks and two forest reserves, and there are plans to increase these numbers, in order to undertake a comprehensive biodiversity study : organising and expanding local flora and fauna, strengthening the research efforts and reviewing existing legislation.
THE NATIONAL PARKS
MORNE TROIS PITONS NATIONAL PARK
3 Rivers lies on the edge of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Dominica’s first national park, which was established in 1975. When it was opened, its primary function was to protect samples of the island flora and fauna, It now covers more than 17,000 acres of land and has recently been declared a World Heritage Site of outstanding universal value.
CABRITS NATIONAL PARK :
Dominica soon realized that protecting its forests and wildlife was paramount to its survival due to the delicate balance of nature that exists. Not only would it remain one of the most natural and unspoilt islands in the Caribbean, but this positive environmental action would be great for business ; tourism in particular. To this end, in 1986, The Cabrits National Park was officially opened. Its main function is to protect the island’s largest tracts of dry coastal forests, and to preserve its largest wetlands of marsh, freshwater swamp and mangroves. The products of the forest are used, in a sustainable fashion, in the production of some of the island’s handicrafts, medicines, spices and food.
MORNE DIABLOTIN NATIONAL PARK
This, Dominica’s newest national park, is home to the island’s highest mountain, Morne Diablotin, whose summit lies some 4747 feet above sea level, and to the Syndicate Trail, which is said to be the place to see the most bird life during your visit to Dominica. It was established in early 2000 and covers over 8,000 acres of land.
THE FOREST RESERVES :
CENTRAL FOREST RESERVE
The Central Forest Reserve, the first of its kind in Dominica, was established way back in 1952, and is inhabited by an abundance of gommier, which grow to heights of almost 120 feet. The wood from these trees is both beautiful and durable, and has been used by the Kalinago people (Caribs) for centuries in the production of their canoes, and many other crafts.
NORTHERN FOREST RESERVE
The largest refuge for the island’s two indigenous species of parrot, the Sisserou and the Jacquot, is said to be in the Northern Forest reserve, which was opened in 1977, and encompasses some 22,000 acres of land, protecting watersheds, plants and animals. For keen birdwatchers, a visit to this reserve is a must.