The Botanic Park is one of the few places in Cayman where the
native dry forest
can be appreciated and viewed in comfort. Also, because the
area is that of a
low elevation landscape, subtle variations in topography and flooding
dramatic changes in the flora. This makes the Park an almost
ideal outdoor classroom
that plays a valuable role in local environmental education.
The Botanic Park also functions as a modest protected area -- all
the forest enclosed by
the Woodland Trail and south of the lake is protected to conserve
the area’s native flora
and fauna. Extensive areas of natural forest are the key
to conservation of so many of Cayman’s native plants and
animals, and the Park’s contribution is reflected in the
abundant wildlife to be seen on the trails and in the gardens. Birds
such as the Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis)
and the Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra), or plants
such as the tiny unique Caymanian orchids, are indications of
the health of the forest.
Even in the more managed areas of the Park, conservation care
threads through at many levels. Native trees provide shade
in the colour gardens, and the Park’s semi-natural lake
now provides habitat for the threatened West Indian Whistling
(Dendrocygna arborea) and a range of other waterfowl.
Even an unremarkable area of landscape plantings may turn out
to have a conservation purpose: several highly endangered,
uniquely Caymanian plants are planted and cared
for in managed areas of the Park. Each is a scientifically
documented collection held
as a security against the potential extinction of the plants in
their natural range.