The forest cover on the south of the island, around the Soufrière volcano, was almost entirely destroyed by volcanic activity in 1995. In addition, the largest remaining area of intact forest, the Centre Hills, has been exposed to falling ash and repeated acid rain ever since. Only a small area of mangrove cover in Carrs Bay was not destroyed by the volcano. The Montserrat Oriole (Icterus oberi), the symbol of the island, was decimated by the 1995 volcanic eruption and is now only found in Centre Hills. This species is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ and its future in the wild is uncertain.
A biodiversity assessment confirmed the Centre Hills to be the most important area for biodiversity on Montserrat. The flora comprises of approximately 1,000 plant species of which nearly 800 are native and three endemic (Rondeletia buxifolia, Epidendrum montserratense and Xylosma serratum).
Coral reefs are found around the island of Montserrat, mainly on the west and north coasts. The island is also a nesting area for the Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles, and is home to 11 species of terrestrial reptiles (three of them endemic) and 10 species of native bats. Read more