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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: J. Geister
  General Description   The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve is situated at the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, at the southwestern Caribbean, off the East coast of Nicaragua, halfway between Colombia and Jamaica. As a marine biosphere reserve, it covers approximately 10% of the Caribbean sea, with three main islands, surrounded by coastal mangroves swamps and highly intact and productive associated coral reef ecosystems. The old Providence barrier reef alone is 32 km long and covers an area of 255 Km2 making it one of the largest coral reefs in the Americas. It is identified as a major site of coral and fish diversity and is considered a biodiversity “hotspot” with 27 Km2 and an official population of 70.657 (2002), over half the population in San Andrés Island lives in the urban commercial center, on the coastal flats at the extreme north end of the island. The islands of old Providence and Santa Catalina, with 19 Km2 formed by an extinct Miocene volcano, with an unusually well preserved tropical forest, have far less population (4.180). The climate is tropical, stable, with an average temperature of 27° centigrade. It is defined as a secondary endemic bird area. Among the endemic species of the Archipiélago there are two species of snakes – Leptotyphlops albifrons (silver snake) and Coniophanes andresensis, the Vireo caribeus, which is a bird, the Gambusia aestiputeus, a fish that lives in the mangroves of Bahía Hooker ( San Andrés Island) an endemic species of toad called Leptodactylus insularis and the Hypoplectrus providencianus (Hamlet) which is a fish from Providence island. San Andres Ecosystems show the effects of mass tourism and over- population such as reduced water quality from solid and liquid waste, the effect of inadequate infrastructure and poorly planned urban development. A special programme of education, public awareness and community involvement was organized within the archipelago’s community in order to develop and understand the philosophy and approaches of the MAB programme in cultural, environmental and economic terms. Materials and activities included an “Islands Natural Alphabet” on environmental education, on coral reefs and mangroves, tree planting and seed collection schemes. To contribute to sustainable economic and human development, the biosphere reserve will support eco and ethno-tourism, and strengthen traditional native pursuits of subsistence agriculture, small animal rising, and artisan fishing that promotes self-sufficiency.
  Major ecosystem type   Coastal/marine areas including coral reefs and mangroves; islands; dry tropical forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Coral reefs; mangroves with Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa and Conocarpus erectus; seagrassbeds characterized by Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme; tropical forest including Ceiba pentandra, Chlorophora tinctoria, Ficus sp., Pimenta dioica, Cecropia peltata etc.; beaches with species such as Tournefortia gnaphalodes, Batis maritima, Typha angustifolia, Clitoria ternatea etc.; agroecosystems; urban areas
  Location   12°29' to 12°36'N; 81°41' to 81°43'W (Isla de San Andrés);
13°19' to 13°24'N; 81°21' to 81°24'W (Old Providencia)
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   30,000
  Core area(s)   1,593.92 (+ marine preliminary area: 160,530)
  Buffer zone(s)   3,120 (+ marine preliminary zone: 7,389,005)
  Transition area(s) when given   634 (+ marine preliminary area: 22,449,610)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -3,500 to + 360
  Year designated   2000
  Administrative authorities   CORALINA - Corporación para el Desarrollo Sostenible del Archipelago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina
  Brief description   Studies on climate, oceanography, hydrology
Geology and geomorphology
Flora and fauna
Socio-economic aspects
Long-term monitoring with CARICOMP (marine ecosystems),
COSALC (beaches) and CPACC (climate change)
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, geology, geomorphology, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies, physical oceanography/oceans.
  Biodiversity   Beach/soft bottom, coastal/marine, ecosystem assessment, fauna, flora, methodologies.
  Socio-economic   Social/Socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Elizabeth Taylor
Via a San Luis, Bight km 26
 Archipelago de San Andrès, Provincia y Santa Catalina
  Telephone   (57.8) 51 20 080
  Fax   (57.8) 512 68 53 Ext 108
  E-mail   Seaflower contact
  Web site

Last updated: 27/03/2011

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