Morne Trois Pitons National Park

Luxuriant natural tropical forest blends with scenic volcanic features of great scientific interest in this national park centred on the 1,342-m-high volcano known as Morne Trois Pitons. With its precipitous slopes and deeply incised valleys, 50 fumaroles, hot springs, three freshwater lakes, a 'boiling lake' and five volcanoes, located on the park's nearly 7,000 ha, together with the richest biodiversity in the Lesser Antilles, Morne Trois Pitons National Park presents a rare combination of natural features of World Heritage value.

The Committee inscribed the Morne Trois Pitons National Park on the basis of natural criteria (viii) and (x) for its diverse flora with endemic species of vascular plants, its volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls, illustrating ongoing geo-morphological processes with high scenic value.

Morne Trois Pitons is located 13 km east of the town of Roseau in the highlands of south-central Dominica and it is the basaltic spike-like remains of a former volcano rising to approximately 1,300 m, within 8 km of the sea.

The landscape is characterized by volcanic piles with precipitous slopes, and deeply incised valleys (glacis slopes). There is also a fumarole known as Valley of Desolation (or Grand Soufriere), with fumaroles, hot springs, mud pots, sulphur vents and the Boiling Lake, which is the world's second largest of its kind. The valley is a large amphitheatre surrounded by mountains and consisting of at least three separate craters where steam vents, small ponds, and hot springs bubble up through the ground. Boiling Lake is surrounded by cliffs and is almost always covered by clouds of steam. The Valley of Desolation drains into the Pointe Mulatre River, which flows into the Atlantic.

Other outstanding features in the area include the Emerald Pool, fed by the Middleham Falls; Stinking Hole, a lava tube in the middle of the forest; and the Boeri and Freshwater lakes. The Freshwater Lake is the largest and second deepest of Dominica's four freshwater lakes. The Boeri Lake is the second largest in Dominica, and is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. Both lakes are separated from each other by Morne Macaque (1,221 m) and vary in depth with the season. Both are thought to have originated some 25,000-30,000 years ago. The park also encompasses almost all the headwaters of the streams and rivers in the southern half of the island.

Five natural vegetation zones are recognized within the area, plus a small patch of encroaching agricultural land.

 Elfin/cloud forest, which occurs at the highest elevations, above 914 m, and is almost constantly covered by mist and subject to high winds, rain and cold temperatures. Main vegetation types consist of mosses, ferns, shrubs and stunted trees covered by lichens.
Montane thicket, which is transitional between elfin and montane forests, is dominated by spindly trees. The most common tree found on steep slopes is Podocarpus coriaceus, the island's only native conifer.

Montane rainforest, which grows above 610m, is frequently in cloud cover or fog. The species composition is similar to that of mature rainforest, yet much reduced in stature.

Non-vascular epiphytes cover most montane rainforest plants.
Mature rainforest, which grows below 460m. This zone contains the most luxuriant growth.

The occurrence of at least 7 species of mammal, 50 birds, 12 reptiles and amphibians and 12 crustaceans is indicated. Apart from introduced opossum and agouti, there are no terrestrial mammals in the area. Other introduced mammals include feral cats and pigs and rats.

Birds include imperial Amazon and red-necked Amazon parrots. Imperial Amazon was formerly common but is now threatened in Dominica. Red-necked Amazon was also a commonly seen species, but now is rarely observed in only a few small areas of the park.

There are no poisonous snakes in Dominica. Boa grows to 3.6 m in length and is common in Morne Trois Pitons. Three species of lizards, including the endemic, exist in the park.

Morne Trois Pitons National Park was first proposed as a forest reserve in 1952. The area was designated as National Park under the National Parks and Protected Areas Act No.16 of July 1975.

Niciun comentariu:

Trimiteți un comentariu