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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: P. Bridgewater
  General Description   The Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve is located at the eastern part of the mountain range of Guaniguanico, between Pinar del Rio and Havana’s provinces of Cuba, where both north and south coasts can be seen. It covers an area of 26,686 hectares. This reserve shows a complex geological structure, with a great diversity of rocks that produce different and special soils, which in part, determine flora endemism in its landscape. One can find the little orchid Bletia purpurea, considered a symbol of this reserve. Some parts of the range have exposures of Serpentine rock, and here, instead of forest, there is grassland and thorny xeromorphic thickets and shrublands. Still with special features intact, regenerating natural systems, and ecological field station, Sierra del Rosario has been cleared of its natural forest cover, but we still find semidecidous forests, ’cuabales‘, hummocks ’mogotes‘ and secondary forest regeneration species, as the royal palm tree, and ’yagruma‘. More than 5,500 (2002) people live in the biosphere reserve, mainly working in handicrafts, agriculture, cattle raising and reforestation. 62 national and 20 foreign scientists (1998) are involved in research and monitoring at the Institute of Ecology and Systematic. They have improved tropical reforestation and agriculture, local ecotechnology by developing bio fertilizers containing different mixtures of mycorrhizae. They also promote the use of non-conventional energy. There is also a strong public environmental education focus and specialized ecotourism. A very fine eco-hotel has been built in the biosphere reserve, which blends in to a hillside.
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the biosphere reserve is its link with coffee. It was the site of the first major plantation in the New World, and there are still some few places in the biosphere reserve where small self-contained farmlets exist, and shade coffee is part of the range of items grown. There is a substantial coffee drying area at Buenavista, where the techniques and machinery from the 19th century are still remarkably well preserved. Twinned with Mexico’s Sierra del Manantlán Biosphere Reserve, it shares analogous environmental conditions and resources managements problems as well.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical dry or deciduous forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Evergreen tropical forest; semi-deciduous forest; coniferous forest with pine; thorny xeromorphic thicket; residential areas; agroecosystems; pasture land; forestry systems
  Location   22°45' to 23°00'N; 82°50' to 83°10'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   25,000
  Core area(s)   100
  Buffer zone(s)   5,000
  Transition area(s) when given   19,900
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +50 to +550
  Year designated   1984
  Administrative authorities   Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Medio Ambiente (CITMA) Ministerio de la Agricultura (MINAGRI) Ministerio del Turismo (MINTUR)
  Brief description   Global change
Sustainable socio-economic development of the mountains
Recuperation of the biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems with touristic interest
Home gardens for in situ conservation of genetic plant resources
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Global change.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, conservation, genetic resources, home gardens, mountain and highland systems, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment.
  Socio-economic   Social/Socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Sustainable development/Sustainable use.
  Contact address   Fidel Hernández
Centro Nacional de Áreas Protegidas de Cuba
18A, n°4114 entre 43 y 47. Playa.
 La Habana
  Telephone   (53-7) 202.79.70
  Fax   (53-7) 204.07.98

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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