The Nariva Swamp is a largely freshwater swamp, located midway along the eastern coast of Trinidad. The area is approximately 11,340 hectares in size and is the largest and most ecologically diverse wetland in Trinidad and Tobago.
Under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) Rules, 2001 of Trinidad and Tobago, the Nariva Swamp Managed Resource Protected Area has been declared as an ESA in December 2006. It is also one of Trinidad’s two Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Nariva Swamp includes a wide variety of vegetation types: tropical forest, swamp forest, palm swamp forest, mangrove areas, marshland, and open waters. Agricultural areas add to the variety, and a small area at the northwestern tip was leased to local farmers. This area was subsequently illegally expanded through squatting by large rice farmers.
The area is exceedingly rich in biological resources, with over 175 species of birds recorded for the Nariva Swamp out of the total 433 bird species for Trinidad and Tobago.
The swamp provides the habitat for waterfowl, and is the fundamental habitat for the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus). Red howler monkeys, caimans, numerous species of parrots, including both the Blue-and-gold Macaw and Red-bellied Macaws and some species of snakes (e.g. anacondas, boa constrictors) are found in the Nariva Swamp.
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- development project: Studies on the biological resources of Nariva Swamp, Trinidad. Occasional Papers No. 4. St. Augustine, Trinidad: University of the West Indies.
- ffrench, R. P. 1980. A guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Newton Square, PA: Harrowood Books.
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- James, C. 1992. Wetlands management in Trinidad and Tobago. In: A. E. Lugo and B. Bayle, editors. Wetlands management in the Caribbean and the role of forestry and wetlands in the economy. Puerto Rico: Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture