Location and Values: The Pitons Management Area is located on the volcanic island of Saint Lucia in the eastern Caribbean. Its spectacular volcanic landscape is dominated by two prominent volcanic cones rising side by side from the sea, around the margins of a collapsed stratovolcano. Other volcanic features at the site include a geothermal field of suphurous fumeroles and hot springs, explosion craters, pryroclastic deposits (pumice and ash) and lava flows. Within a relatively small area, all the main features of this kind of volcano are illustrated, in a way that can be considered representative of the entire chain of 18 volcanic islands in the Lesser Antilles. These islands form a 700 km-long arc along a crustal subduction zone in this part of the Caribbean.
The outstanding natural beauty of the Pitons is enhanced by their cloak of lush tropical forest, and the site’s location in the bright blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, with its fringing coral reefs.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Pitons Management Area is ‘of significant concern’. While the site’s geological attributes and volcanic features remain intact, there is concern about maintaining the area’s outstanding natural beauty and aesthetic qualities. These qualities are being severely impacted by poorly controlled development within the site (much of which is in private ownership), tourism infrastructure, housing development and road construction. These issues are exacerbated by the lack of an adequate development control system and limited financial and technical management capacity within the relevant authorities. A recent study to define the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) provides important guidance for the management of the site, but the study’s recommendations remain to be implemented. The multiple effects of climate change represent another threat to the area, although the nature of these impacts is difficult to predict and assess.
Official UNESCO Site Details
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description