Habitat Restoration

Land purchases and land enhancement protect critical iguana habitat

Iguanas often occur in highly degraded areas where significant restoration is needed to ensure vital plant species and habitat characteristics are available to support a sustainable population. In more extreme cases it is necessary to purchase land privately in order to guarantee that suitable habitat is available, and protection is enforced. These land parcels often then need significant restoration in order to be able to support a sustainable population of reproducing iguanas.

In recent years the IIF support Grupo Jaragua in purchasing two parcels of land in the Dominican Republic, totaling nearly 70 acres, both of which were deemed important nesting grounds for the Endangered Ricord’s Rock Iguana and the Endangered Rhinoceros Rock Iguana. Had this land not been privately purchased the habitat would have been converted for agriculture or cattle grazing and lost to the iguanas, and many other important native species. Both parcels required significant restoration to bring back several plant species, the fruits of which comprise an important seasonal food source for iguanas. In addition to supporting these subsequent restoration activities the IIF has also support similar activities in other parts of these iguanas’ ranges. The IIF has also supported restoration activities in Guatemala, Fiji, and Jamaica.

Dry forest tree sapling production at Heloderma Natural Reserve for the habitat restoration program.
Dry forest tree sapling production at Heloderma Natural Reserve for the habitat restoration program.
Tree saplings of Mauto trees (Lysiloma divaricatum) and Pitayo organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus pruinosus) produced for the habitat restoration program. Photo Daniel Ariano
Tree saplings of Mauto trees (Lysiloma divaricatum) and Pitayo organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus pruinosus) produced for the habitat restoration program. Photo Daniel Ariano
Dry forest samplings ready to be replanted in the Heloderma Natural Reserve
Dry forest samplings ready to be replanted in the Heloderma Natural Reserve