Juniperus barbadensis var. lucayana (Britton) R.P. Adams

Cupressaceae

Endemic to the West Indes where it occurs in the Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica. Here it is threatened by fire, cutting and invasive pathogens.

Associated Names:

Bahaman juniper, red cedar, cèdre, Lucayan juniper and sabina

Distribution

Juniperus barbadensis var. lucayana is endemic to the Caribbean where it occurs in the Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica.

In the Bahamas it occurs on the following islands: Great Abaco, Andros, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera and New Providence. Although Adams (1989) cites a figure of ca. 100 plants in the Bahamas the number is much greater and ranges from between 2,000–3,000 individuals. In Cuba it is currently recorded from Camagüey (Cayo Sabinal), Holguín (Sierra de Nipe) and Isla de la Juventud, Pinar del Río (Sabanalamar), (Areces–Mallea, 1997; Adams, 1989), however it is thought to only be extant in the latter two locations (Adams, 1989). In Jamaica 15–20 trees grow in St Andrew Parish near to Clydesdale (Adams, 1989; M. Gardner pers. obs.) where it has an EOO of 30km². It is now extinct on Haiti.

In Jamaica and Cuba the sub-populations are relatively restricted and occur in small stands with 5–30 individuals. In the Bahamas, the number is much higher and estimated to be between 2,000–3,000 individuals, most of which are confined to the islands of Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama. In recent years there has been some reduction in some of these stands, for example the best stands at the west end of Grand Bahama have almost all disappeared due to the construction of apartments, a golf course and a marina.

Habitat and Ecology

A small tree up to 12m in height occurring from near to sea level to 1600m in a range of forest types depending on the country. In Cuba it is found in ‘bosque aciculifolio’ forest which is characterised as having about 30% forest cover dominated by Pinus spp. with evergreen trees and associated shrubs and herbaceous plants but very few epiphytes and climbers (Berazaín, 2005). In contrast, on the Isle of Pines, off the south coast of Cuba, it grows in forest swamps. In the Bahamas it is also found in coppices on limestone rocky slopes.

Human Uses

In Jamaica it is often used in furniture making due to its attractive wood and its excellent insect-repellant properties.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable C2a(i)

Global rationale

This taxon is widely distributed over the northwestern Caribbean in about two restricted sites in Cuba and on five islands in northern part of the Bahamas. Due to the nature of this distribution, particularly that in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Bahamas, it is not possible to estimate the area of occupancy. Throughout its distribution the population is clearly in decline mainly as a result of fire and urbanization. Out of a total population of less than 10,000, no subpopulation contains more than 1,000 individuals. On this basis it has been assessed as Vulnerable under C2a(i).

Global threats

Exploitation for fuel wood and timber throughout its distribution have reduced the numbe of mature individuals. In Cuba fire is also a threat. In the Blue Mountains of Jamaica the illicit practice of selective felling of old-growth trees has been stopped in the Cinchona area since 1994 by the park authorities (Goodland & Healey, 1996). Once gaps are created by felling the trees, invasive non-native species such as Pittosporum undulatum become established (Goodland & Healey, 1996). The bark beetle, Phloeosinus neotropicus, which is endemic to Jamaica, is host specific on J. barbadensis var lucayana (Garraway & Freeman, 1981) and has the potential of further weakening debilitated stands. In the Bahamas there has been a reduction of some stands due to urbanisation.

Conservation Actions

In the Bahamas it is afforded protection in a number of National Parks which are admninistered by the Bahamas National Trust. In Jamaica stands are within the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park