To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Cuchillas del Toa Biosphere Reserve, is located at the Greater Antilles, in the northeastern region of Cuba, and covers the mountain region of Sagua-Garacoa in the Alexander de Humboldt National Park. It extends along 208,305 hectares, of which 6,013 belongs to the marine area. Cuchillas del Toa is considered as one of the principal centers of biodiversity and endemism in Cuba and the insular Caribbean with rainy mountain forests, cloud forests and xerophytic matorral to complex coastal vegetation with mangroves and coral reefs. The karstic system of the great cave of Moa Head lands is one of the five natural monuments in the country and one of the great cave systems in eastern Cuba. With high biodiversity in flora and fauna, there are 928 endemic species reported, like the genus Podocarpus and Dracaena, ’botanic jewels‘ belonging to the most primitive species. Vertebrates as the royal carpenter (Campephilus principalis), the caguarero sparrow hawk (Chondrohierax wilsoni) and the almiqui (Solenodon cubanus) are also considered highly endangered species. Some of the world’s smallest mammal species are found in the reserve. About 18,300 inhabitants (2002), in 498 communities, live in the buffer zone and transition area of this mountainous reserve. Engaged in forestry, traditional agriculture (coffee, coconut, and cacao) and ecotourism, they also raise cattle and participate in nickel, chromo, iron and cobalt mining explorations. These activities had increased negative impacts in the carrying capacity of the ecosystems, one of the main problems the reserve faces today. Another interesting aspect of this biosphere reserve is its history as battlefield for freedom. In the 18th and 19th centuries, black slave people ’cimarrones‘ struggles preceded the 20th century Cuban revolution. Twinned with Mexico’s Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, it shares similar environmental conditions and also resources management’s alternatives.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests including coastal/marine component
  Major habitats & land cover types   Montane rainforest; xeromorphic matorral; pine (Pinus cubensis); cloud forest; mangrove; rocky and sandy habitats; coral reef; agroecosystems with coffee, cacao and coconut; residential areas; chrome mine
  Location   20°16' to 20°35'N; 74°30' to 75°08'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   208,305
  Core area(s)   89,741 (of which marine: 2,642)
  Buffer zone(s)   49,284 (of which marine: 3,371)
  Transition area(s) when given   69,280
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +1,139
  Year designated   1987
  Administrative authorities   El Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente (CITMA)
  Brief description   Climate
Vegetation monitoring using permanent plots
Reproduction studies of the genera Buxus
Biodiversity studies for conservation
Home gardens for in situ conservation of genetic plant resources
Sanitary status of wild fauna
Electrification with renewable energy in several installations and social centres
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, birds, conservation, fauna, genetic resources, home gardens, methodologies, pests/diseases, plants, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Energy production systems/Alternative energy.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Rolando Villaverde López
Reserva de la Biosfera Cuchillas del Toa
Ministerio de Ciencias tecnología y Medio Ambiente
  Telephone   (53) 21 381431

Last updated: 30/10/2007

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO