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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Situated on the southern coast of Cuba at Matanzas province, the Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve covers 628,171 hectares. It is one of the largest and most important wetlands in the Caribbean region with a marine southern borderline. Ciénaga de Zapata was designated as Ramsar site in 2001. This area is a cluster biosphere reserve with several core areas, highly valuable for conservation located in the Ciénaga de Zapata National Park.
This reserve shows a great diversity of ecosystems and land cover types as grasslands, mangrove forests, Ciénaga forest , and semi-deciduous forest, evergreen coastal and sub-coastal forest; coastal and sub-coastal matorral, and coral reefs with principal coral species and coastal lagoons. The area also supports the main populations of the Cuban crocodile (Cocodrilus rhombifer) and American crocodile (C. acutus) and birds as the great flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber). Some 9,000 (2001) people, mostly of Spanish origin, live permanently in one of the largest biosphere reserves in Cuba. Economic activities are mainly silviculture, fisheries, community agriculture, tourism, handicraft and apiculture. Tourism is very important and brings more than 800,000 people to the area each year, for the benefit of the local communities. They are actively involved in decision-making processes through public hearings and peoples councils organized by the administration of the local government. As this biosphere reserve covers a whole watershed and entire protected areas, all long-term objectives for conservation, development of sustainable land-use practices is met. The region of the Ciénaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve has been declared a Special region for sustainable development. This reserve is twinned with the Rio Lagarto National Biosphere Reserve of Mexico.
  Major ecosystem type   Coastal, marine component / Mangrove
  Major habitats & land cover types   Ciénaga grasslands characterized by herbaceous species such as Cladium jamaicence, Eleocharis interstincta, E. cellulosa etc.; mangrove forest with the four mangrove species existing in Cuba: Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erecta; Ciénaga forest dominated by Bucida buceras, Tabebuia angustata, Calophyllum antillanun and Rauwolfia cubana; semi-deciduous forest dominated by Lysiloma latisiligua, Bursera simaruba, Ceiba pentandra etc.; evergreen coastal and sub-coastal forest; coastal and sub-coastal matorral, coral reefs with principal coral species such as Porites porites, P. asteroides, Manicina areolata, Siderastrea radians and Acropora cancellata; coastal lagoons
  Location   North: 22°40'N; 81°35'W
South: 22°01'N; 81°22'W
East: 22°03'N; 80°35'W
West: 22°23'N; 82°09'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   625,354
  Core area(s)   196,828 (of which marine: 28,700)
  Buffer zone(s)   317,337 (of which marine: 102,037)
  Transition area(s) when given   111,189
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -2 to +10
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente (CITMA)
  Brief description   Migratory birds
Ecology of fish and turtles
Reproduction in captivity and ecology of the two species of crocodiles existing in the area
Reproduction in captivity of Cuban parrots (Amazona leucocephala and Aratinga eups)
Evaluation of habitats for conservation and population studies of birds
Localisation of endemic, rare and endangered species
Inventories of fauna and flora
Investigations of tourism in areas with high conservation value
Socio-economic studies of local communities
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Habitat.
  Biodiversity   Birds, conservation, ecology, endemic species, fauna, fishes, flora, migrating populations/migration, population genetics/population dynamics, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, species inventorying/inventory.
  Socio-economic   Social/Socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Jorge L Jiménez
Reserva de Biosfera Cienaga de Zapata
Ministerio de Ciencias tecnología y Medio Ambiente
  Telephone   (53) 914265-915539

Last updated: 02/04/2009

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