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EXPERTS  WORKSHOP  (Mulgrave, 27 Sept. 2013)
-Biological  Targets-


Expert Workshop Attendees (click here)


1. Wet Limestone Forest

2.  Cave Communities

3.  Karst Freshwater Ecosystems

4. Amphibians

5.  Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

6.  Plain Pigeon


Target #1

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

1.  Wet Limestone Forest


Biodiversity Level:

Ecological system


Spatial Scale:


      Western component of the Cockpit Country plateau (regional)


      Highest rainfall values of the Cockpit Country plateau occur in Catadupa (regional)


      Aquifer contributes to freshwater security for western Jamaica, notably Montego River, Great River, and Black River (regional)


      Climate change adaptations:  Catadupa likely to be a moisture refugium during prolonged drought cycles (national)


      Recognized Important Bird Area (IBA), ranked 5th for importance in Jamaica (national; international)


      Recognized Key Biodiversity Area (KBA):  at least 8 plant species with global range restricted to Catadupa; supports 1 of 3 remaining confirmed national range restricted breeding populations of Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (IUCN EN); supports populations of at least 9 endemic frog species recognized as endangered or threatened by IUCN (national; international)


      Western component of the Highest Biodiversity Priority Cockpit Country add-on in the National Ecological Gap Assessment Report (2009)


      With the exception of 8 scattered Forest Reserves which cover 16% of the area, Catadupas wet limestone forest does not have protected status, despite being globally recognized for its biodiversity and nationally recognized for its contributions to freshwater security


      Plant communities associated with topography (e.g., hilltop, cliff)


      Endemic plants of the Cockpit Country plateau


      Epiphytes:  tank bromeliads (and associated faunal communities) and orchids1


      Forest-dependent endemic butterflies, notably the very rare  Grais juncta (currently known only from Catadupa and Quickstep), Atlantea pantoni (Catadupa is the second largest of 3 remaining small breeding sites in Jamaica), and Protographium marcellinus (Cockpit Country plateau is a stronghold)


      Endemic land snails, including Pleurodonte catadupae, which is globally restricted to Catadupa


      Forest-dependent bird species, including Jamaican Blackbird2 (IUCN EN), Ring-tailed Pigeon (IUCN VU) and Black-billed & Yellow-billed Parrots3 (both IUCN VU)


      Endemic reptiles, including Jamaican Boa4 (IUCN VU)


      Tree-roosting bats, notably the endemic Jamaican Fig-eat Bat




      Water regulation:  terrestrial component of karst aquifer


      Climate regulation (e.g. evapo-transpiration; intercept / block sunlight; nuclei for raindrop formation; temperature)


      Gas regulation (CO2- O2 cycles; carbon sequestration)


      Habitat:  refugium for Jamaica-endemic species; sole global location for site-endemics)


      Forest patch size:  large area supports greater diversity of plants == maintains year-round populations of pollinators and seed dispersers


      Forest structure (Note:  historic logging, esp. for railway has affected forest structure but possibly not diversity)


      Connectivity to other habitats, for different stages of species life cycles (e.g., butterfly seasonal movements / migration to interior moist habitats to avoid seasonal drought conditions in coastal areas)


      Production functions:  pharmaceutical potential


      Information functions:  aesthetic,  recreation, cultural (e.g., many place names (Mt. Horeb, Niagara, Shuna) highlight the unique water features of the landscape)


      Natural regeneration through pollination and seed dispersal


      Natural disturbance regimes:  creation of gaps (either through natural mortality of mature trees or through storm damage) and subsequent  successional dynamics


      Absence of invasive alien plant species, which arrest natural regeneration dynamics


      Minimum viable population sizes of each plant species to ensure adequate genetic variability


      Presence of keystone species, such as Ficus spp. which produce fruit year-round


      Daily / nightly movements of pollinators, seed dispersers and insect-consuming fauna (e.g., forest-dependent bats)


      Seasonal migration of pollinators and seed dispersers, which may require the maintenance of forest corridors to different habitat types


      Large and contiguous size to maximize interior :: minimize edge ratio


      Natural moisture gradient


      Connectivity between terrestrial forest and subterranean components




:1Mulgrave community members report that orchid and wythes ["wiss"] collecting no longer occurs in southern Catadupa.

2Jamaican Blackbird (local name = Wild Pine Sergeant) depends upon healthy tank bromeliads for foraging.  It is also highly vulnerable to brood-parasitism by the Shiny Cowbird.  Maintenance of forest connectivity / preventing fragmentation and creation of edge habitat should provide adequate protection for the Jamaican Blackbird.

3Mulgrave community members report that parrot poaching is not a problem in southern Catadupa.

4Mulgrave community members note that Jamaican Boas have always been rare in southern Catadupa (NB, elevation may be too high for the thermal range of this species); however poaching does occur in Maroon Town, but the extent and effects on the population remain unknown.  The species may require elevation to Target if poaching is determined to be a threat.







Target #2

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

2.  Cave communities


Biodiversity Level:



Spatial Scale:

Micro-site discrete caves


Note: There are at least 45 caves & sinkholes listed in Jamaica Underground for Catadupa

      Bats are critical species for pollination, seed dispersal and insect consumption


      Highly specialized cave-adapted fauna; many invertebrates are endemic


      Species highly vulnerable to disturbance and degradation because of typically-small population sizes and patchy distributions within a cave


      Low resilience to disturbance and changes in cave microclimate conditions

      Cave-dependent bats: (a) daytime year-round roost; (b) seasonal maternity roosts


      Guano-dependent invertebrates


      Other cave invertebrates (e.g., detritivores)


      Amphibians, esp. Eleutherodactylus cundalli


      Geologic substrate and associated fault, fracture, and dissolution patterns


      Cave size and associated diversity of microhabitats (e.g. level of darkness, temperature, relative humidity, airflow & CO2- O2 concentrations)


      Cave isolation (particularly important for evolutionary divergence and evolution of endemic species


      Critical daytime and maternity roosts for cave-dependent bat species


      Connectivity to terrestrial forest == non-substitutable component critical to maintaining a  functional karst landscape


      Stability of microclimate


      Natural disturbance regimes (generally very low level)


      Vegetative nutrient inputs


      Guano nutrient inputs


      Patterns of energy inputs (high vs. low; pulse vs. steady)


      Species composition and dominance (e.g. distribution of bats has direct influence on distribution of guano-dependent invertebrates in a cave)


      Bat access to food resources:  (a) forest connectivity at cave opening / forest interface; (b) forest connectivity across the landscape for nightly and seasonal movements of  cluttered-space forest-dependent echolocators


      Natural predator-prey dynamics


      Natural mortality rates


      Absence of invasive alien species




Target #3

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

3.  Karst freshwater ecosystems


Biodiversity Level:

Ecological system


Spatial Scale:

Regional – connected via vadose and phreatic components of the aquifer


NOTE:  need to consult with WRA and other experts, such as Christoph Schubart ref crustaceans and Kimberly John ref YS River surveys

      Terrestrial components include the Niagara River and upper reaches of the YS River


      Recharge area for freshwater supply of western Jamaica, including the Great River, Montego River, and Black River, the latter of which is designated as a Triple Priority Overlap of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems in the National Ecological Gap Assessment Report (2009).


      Highly specialized ecosystems with endemic species


      High level of threat because of pollution (incl. inappropriate solid waste disposal in sinkholes), pesticides, sedimentation, and nutrient enrichment

      Subterranean aquatic biota (stygobites and stygophiles) – mostly invertebrates


      Above-ground spring and river freshwater communities, which depend upon the quantity and quality of water filtered through the Catadupa aquifer; this will include diadromous species, such as Macrobrachium shrimp and Anguilla eels,  which migrate between the sea and freshwater ecosystems


       Floral and faunal communities of the riparian zone (ref Niagara River and upper reaches of the YS River)

      Habitat for freshwater organisms


      Water regulation: retention, flow rates (incl. seasonal patterns and pulse flooding events) and storage


      Water purification:  clean, filtered water for human extraction


      Water purification:  clean, filtered water all the way down to marine ecosystems




      Connectivity between terrestrial and subterranean components of the karst aquifer, particularly the associated permeability of the substrate


      Hydrologic regime


      Water chemistry


      Characteristic allochthonous inputs


      In-stream longitudinal migration


      Sediment erosion / deposition regime


      Species composition,  richness, and trophic diversity


      Absence of invasive alien species


Target #4

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

4.  Amphibians


Biodiversity Level:



Spatial Scale:




      Extraordinary levels of endemism, which contribute to the high global ranking of the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot


      Chytrid fungus already confirmed present in Jamaica; protecting the wet limestone forest will not guarantee protection of frogs because of this lethal fungus.

      All Eleutherodactylus species, which undergo direct development within the egg


      All Hylidae frogs, which have a free-swimming tadpole stage


       Tank bromeliad communities

      Genetic diversity:  Catadupa frog populations include island-endemic species and species restricted to the Cockpit Country plateau


      Predators of aquatic insect larvae, such as mosquitoes


      Prey resource for other species




      Absence of chytrid fungus


      Resistance or resilience to chytrid fungus


      Climatic gradient:  temperature, relative humidity, sunlight (particularly UV light)


      Forest physiognomy: structural diversity from forest floor to canopy enabled adaptive radiation of frogs and maintains species richness


      Topography-mediated microclimates, from bottomlands, talus slopes, and hilltops.


      Habitat connectivity, notably forest-cave interface for Eleutherodactylus cundalli, which has unique maternal care


      Predator / prey dynamics


      Intra- and interspecific competition for breeding sites


      Juvenile dispersal




Target #5

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

5.  Giant Swallowtail


Biodiversity Level:



Spatial Scale:




      Endemic to Jamaica


      Largest butterfly in the New World


      Listed by IUCN as Endangered


      Very specific microhabitat and larval food plant requirements may not be addressed by protecting the wet limestone forest


      Historically ( up to 1970s) occurred in Mulgrave but no longer seen there; cause of decline unknown but likely associated with conversion of habitat and isolation of forest patches :: potential to restore into its historic range and increase population size

      Other forest-dependent endemic butterflies, notably Grais juncta (currently known only from Catadupa) and Atlantea pantoni (Catadupa is the second largest of 3 small breeding sites in Jamaica), and Protographium marcellinus (Cockpit Country plateau is a stronghold)



      Cultural icon, both for Jamaica and the Western Hemisphere


      Pollinator (because of its size, compared to all other diurnal butterfly species, it may be a sole legitimate pollinator of some plants)






      Microclimate: very high relative humidity


      Microclimate:  temperature-related sex determination


      Presence of larval food plant


      Presence of adult food plants


      Presence of natural forest gaps for male territories


      Forest connectivity (travel corridors) to enable females to find multiple male territories


      Natural rates of predation and parasitism


      Population size to maintain genetic variability


      Maintenance (or re-establishment) of corridor between core Cockpit Country and Catadupa to ensure historic patterns of gene flow.


      Absence of poaching



Target #6

Criteria / Rationale

Nested Targets

Attributes / Functions

Processes which maintain the target

6.  Plain Pigeon


Biodiversity Level:



Spatial Scale:




      Seasonal migration:  habitat usage extends outside of Catadupa so there is a need to identify movement corridors and usage of coastal ecosystems to ensure full habitat protection


      Hunted illegally; hunters claim they might misidentify it in-flight during bird shooting season


      Global range restricted to the Greater Antilles.  Once considered abundant and widespread, it has undergone considerable declines across all islands.  In Jamaica it has been considered scarce since as early as 1840 and is now considered rare and local1

       Other forest-dependent Columbidae, including White-crowned Pigeons which also make seasonal migrations between breeding and non-breeding habitats

      Seed dispersal


      Large-body prey for native and endemic predators






      Natural rates of reproduction and survival


      Age structure of the population


      Seasonal migration


      Availability of micro-minerals


      Seasonal food availability


      Forest size:  large enough area to support viable breeding population


      Habitat connectivity


      Absence of pathogens and parasites associated with e.g., poultry or birds in the pet trade


1IUCN Red List, accessed 9 October 2013.  <http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106002487/0>

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