Guánica State Forest and Biosphere Reserve, Puerto Rico

Guánica State Forest and Biosphere Reserve, Puerto Rico

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 01:34
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Situated in southwest Puerto Rico, the Guánica Biosphere Reserve comprises coastal areas with several mangrove cays as well as subtropical dry forest. The area was designated Guánica State Forest, a forest reserve, in 1919 and is considered the best preserved subtropical forest and the best example of dry forest in the Caribbean.

Situated in southwest Puerto Rico, the Guánica Biosphere Reserve comprises coastal areas with several mangrove cays as well as subtropical dry forest. The area was designated Guánica State Forest, a forest reserve, in 1919 and is considered the best preserved subtropical forest and the best example of dry forest in the Caribbean.

The reserve is managed as a multiple use area to achieve harmonious relationships between human activities and the maintenance of the natural ecological integrity. Monitoring, research, education and training activities are encouraged to support sustainable development in this part of Puerto Rico.

Approximately half of Puerto Rico's birds and nine of sixteen endemic bird species occur here. The vegetation in the forest is divided into three main groups: upland deciduous forest (which occupies 23.5 sq km or 9.1 sq mi), semi-evergreen forest (7.2 sq km or 2.8 sq mi), and scrub forest (5.8 sq km or 2.2 sq mi). More than 700 plant species, of which 48 are endangered and 16 are endemic to the forest, occur within the forest.

The forest encompasses almost 1000 acres and is maintained by the Departmento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales (DRNA, or Department of Natural Resources). The Guánica State Forest serves the recreation needs of tourists and people living in eight near-by municipalities with a total population of over 330,000 people (1982).

Of conservation concern is the large increase of visitors in coastal areas bringing developmental pressures such as residential and tourist housing projects, the expansion of the municipal landfill and loss of biological corridors.