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Habitat mapping of Saba in the Dutch Caribbean

The tiny island of Saba is the peak of a 500,000-year-old volcanic cone that last erupted 5,000 years ago and is now considered inactive. The island’s highest point is the 877 metres (~2877 feet)-high Mount Scenery, which also holds the title of highest peak in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Guarded by steep cliffs on all sides, Saba has no permanent beaches and only one landing point. Much of the island is covered with lush primary and secondary rain forest that harbours an extraordinary abundance and diversity of nature.

The cloud forest on Mount Scenery is dominated by 200-year-old mahogany trees and is home to many rare and endemic species. The trees are covered with epiphytic plants and mosses that soak up rain from the surrounding clouds and supply the forest and everything downslope with moisture [Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance]


As of the constitutional reform of the kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010, the ministry of agriculture, nature and food quality is responsible for the planning and implementation of conservation policy on the Caribbean island of Saba.  For the evaluation and formulation of new policies reporting on the current state of nature is essential. As part of this reporting the habitats of Saba need to be mapped.

Rain forest Saba


Several local (vegetation) experts and a remote sensing specialist.


During one interactive session existing spatial data sources were combined and supplemented with expert estimates on location and extent of caves, sea-grasses, algae-fields and corals since no data is available.


Interpreted remote sensing data on habitats, a landscape vegetation map based on aerial photographs and field observations and a marine habitat map based on field observations and interpolation. 

Sea shore Saba


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