Potential impacts of tourist developments in St Lucia on the Endangered White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus

R P Young, T J Baptiste, A Dornelly, H Temple, H Whitehead, H G Young, M N Morton

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6 Citations (SciVal)


A rapidly developing tourism industry, concentrated in coastal regions, is suspected to seriously impact upon biodiversity in the global conservation priority of the insular Caribbean. In St Lucia, construction of tourism infrastructure in the coastal dry forest threatens the Endangered White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus. Long-term protection of habitat is vital, but design of such conservation action is constrained by lack of data on the species' distribution and population responses to habitat change and fragmentation. Distance sampling surveys were conducted in 2006 and 2007 to estimate numbers and map the distribution of the two remaining sub-populations. White-breasted Thrashers in St Lucia were estimated to number around 1,200 individuals, with roughly 1,050 birds occupying just over 600 ha of dry forest in the Mandele area. We demonstrate that tourist development companies will likely soon own land constituting around 40% of the species' extent of occurrence on St Lucia, and nearly 35% globally, and that ongoing and planned tourist developments threaten around one third of the St Lucian White-breasted Thrasher population. Given the size of these potential impacts, it is vital that patches of dry forest to the west and north of a development site in the Mandele area are safeguarded. These sites support White-breasted Thrashers at high density and are contiguous with an existing forest reserve. Other important conservation measures include preserving stands of connected mature dry and riparian forest inside the tourist development sites, alongside invasive predator control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-364
Number of pages11
JournalBird Conservation International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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