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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Darién Biosphere Reserve, National Park and World Heritage site is located in the province of Darién to the east of Santa Fe and the Gulf of San Miguel, and covers the region adjacent to the Colombian border, and includes parts of the Pacific coast. This reserve is a unique site, forming the bridge between the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. It comprises raised folds and high mountains with the most extensive lowland tropical forest on the Pacific coast in Central America. It contains a wide range of habitats: sandy beaches, rocky coasts, mangroves, freshwater marshes, palm forest swamps and lowland and upland moist tropical forest. Darién forests have been characterized by scientists as the most diverse ecosystems of tropical America and are still relatively undisturbed. The area is both anthropologically and historically rich, with two major indigenous groups: Chocos and Kunas , and a number of smaller groups still living by traditional practices. These groups have maintained their subsistence agricultural systems through centuries of cultural contact. Over 31,400 inhabitants (2000) live in the buffer and transition areas. On the western boundary of the park, there are a number of small farming plots. Darién is the only incomplete section of the pan-American highway. This would open up the area to settlement and may lead to uncontrolled forestry, mining, agriculture and hunting resulting in deforestation, soil erosion, and disruption of the fragile ecological equilibrium and dislocation of the traditional practices of the indigenous inhabitants. The main goal of the biosphere reserve is to maintain Indian's culture and traditional practices and promote Darién’s regional biological diversity conservation.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests including coastal/marine component
  Major habitats & land cover types   Lowland moist tropical forest dominated by Persea schiedeana, Quercus copeyensis, Weinmannia pinnata and Cedrela tonduzii;
premontane rainforest represented by Chrysophyllum sp., Quercus sp., Virola sp. etc.; humid and very humid tropical forest characterized by Tabebuia chrysantha, Cecropia peltata, Anacardium excelsum, Luehea seemanni, Inga sp. etc.; humid and very humid premontane forest including species such as Hymenaea courbaril, Tabebuia chrysantha and Enterolobium cyclorarpum; tropical dry forest including Guazuma ulmifolia, Xylopia frutescens and Andira inermis; mangroves characterized by Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia nitida, Laguncularia racemosa and Pterocarpus officinalis; residential areas; agroecosystems; grazing areas; agroforestry
  Location   07°10' to 08°30'N; 77°20' to 78°20'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   859,333
  Core area(s)   ~338,335
  Buffer zone(s)   ~334,469
  Transition area(s) when given   ~186,529
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +1,875
  Year designated   1983
  Administrative authorities   Dirección de la Reserva de la Biosfera Darién Dirección Nacional de Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre de la Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente (ANAM) La Administración Regional del Ambiente de Darién

Last updated: 01/10/2007

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