The fauna and flora of Saint-Martin: meet the endemic and protected species of the island
The island of Saint-Martin, located in the Caribbean, is a real treasure of biodiversity. It is home to a wide variety of animal and plant species, some of which are endemic and protected. In this article, we will explore the richness of the fauna and flora of Saint-Martin, and highlight some of the most emblematic species of the island.
I. The fauna of Saint-Martin
A. The birds
Saint-Martin is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 100 species of birds recorded on the island (1). Among the most notable species are:
- The brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) : emblem of the island, it is often observed fishing along the coast.
- The red-footed booby (Sula sula): this colorful seabird nests on the cliffs and rocky islets around Saint-Martin.
The island is also home to several species of reptiles, some of which are endemic. Among the most interesting are:
The St. Martin’s anolis (Anolis pogus): this small green lizard is endemic to the island and is found in gardens and wooded areas.
The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata): an endangered species, it lays its eggs on the sandy beaches of Saint-Martin (2).
II. The flora of Saint-Martin
A. Tropical forests
The tropical forests of Saint-Martin are home to a great diversity of plant species. Among the most emblematic, we can mention:
- Guaiac (Guaiacum officinale): this tree is considered one of the most endangered species in the Lesser Antilles because of the overexploitation of its precious wood (3).
- The mancenilla (Hippomane mancinella): this poisonous tree is protected on the island because of its ecological and cultural importance.
B. Endemic and protected plants
Several endemic and protected plant species populate the island of Saint-Martin, including :
St. Martin’s orchid (Epidendrum montserratense): this orchid is endemic to the Lesser Antilles and is found mainly in wetlands and mountain forests.
The English head cactus (Melocactus intortus): this cactus is protected because of its rarity and its sensitivity to human disturbance.
III. Preserving the biodiversity of Saint-Martin
A. Conservation efforts
To protect the island’s biodiversity, local and international organizations are working closely with the authorities of St. Martin. Conservation efforts include:
- The creation of nature reserves, such as the Nature Reserve of Saint-Martin (4), which protects terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
- Environmental awareness and education programs for residents and visitors.
B. Responsible actions by tourists
As a visitor to St. Maarten, you can contribute to the protection of the fauna and flora by adopting responsible behaviors, such as
- Respect the regulations of nature reserves and protected areas.
- Do not pick up plants and animals or disturb them in their natural habitat.
- Participate in eco-tourism activities and support local businesses committed to environmental preservation.
The fauna and flora of Saint-Martin offer an incomparable richness and testify to the beauty of the Caribbean biodiversity. By protecting these endemic and endangered species, we are not only helping to preserve the island’s fragile ecosystem, but also offering future generations the opportunity to discover and enjoy this exceptional nature.
Birds of Saint-Martin: https: //www.lesfruitsdemer.com/evenements/birds-and-bugs-oiseaux-et-insectes/
Conservation of marine turtles in Saint-Martin: https: //reservenaturelle-saint-martin.com/en/themes/promote-conservation-sea-turtle-population
The guaiac: https: //reservenaturelle-saint-martin.com/fr/journal-newsletter/newsletter-25/cactus-et-gaiacs-au-coeur-dune-mission-scientifique
Nature Reserve of Saint-Martin : https://reservenaturelle-saint-martin.com/fr/