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      Biosphere Reserve Information

United States of America


  General Description   Situated in the Luquillo Mountains in north-east Puerto Rico, this biosphere reserve comprises a cross section of the natural environments of Caribbean islands, and are valued by the public as assets for conservation, recreation, tourism, education, and research.
The forests in the biosphere reserve are classified into four types. Vegetation in the lower elevations consists of the lower montane rainforest or the subtropical wet forests with the dominating tabonuco tree (Dacryodes excelsa). The montane thicket or lower montane forest occupies the gentle slopes above 600 meters elevation with the characteristic Colorado tree (Cyrilla racemiflora). Sierra palm (Prestoea acuminata) is associated with unstable soils and dwarf forests occupy the highest elevations.
The Luquillo Experimental Forest is part of a network of the Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) programme funded by the US National Science Foundation. Its main goal is to understand the long-term dynamics of tropical forest ecosystems characterized by large-scale, infrequent disturbance, rapid processing of organic material, and high habitat and species diversity. The results are of theoretical interest and contribute to conservation management goals and understanding of global change. Natural disturbances in the Luquillo Mountains include hurricanes, landslides, treefalls, droughts, and floods. Human disturbances, mainly in the past, include road construction, charcoal production, clearing for pasture and crops, creation of coffee plantations, and logging.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical rainforest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Tabonuco forest; palo Colorado forest; palm brake; dwarf forest and montane streams
  Location   1821'N, 6545'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   3,487
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +150 to +1,080
  Year designated   1976
  Administrative authorities   Luquillo Experimental Forest USDA, Forest Service
  Brief description   Patterns of and ecosystem response to different patterns of disturbance
Land-stream interactions
Effect of management on ecosystem properties
Integration of ecosystem models and geographic information systems (GIS)
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   Ecotone, perturbations/resilience/vulnerability.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   Geographic Information System/GIS, management issues, modelling.
  Contact address   Ariel E. Lugo
USDA Forest Service
RWU 1152, Call Box 25000
00928-2500 Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
United States of America
  Telephone   (1.787) 766 5335
  Fax   (1.787) 766 6263

Last updated: 11/03/2005

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