Caguanes National Park and Buenavista Biosphere Reserve (Cuba)

Caguanes National Park and Buenavista Biosphere Reserve (Cuba)

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 15:13
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Caguanes National Park is established around the Caguanes Peninsula on the northern coast of Cuba and is the core area of the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve which includes coral reefs, rocky beaches, evergreen coastal forest and mangroves.

Caguanes National Park

Caguanes National Park is located in the Yaguajay municipality in the northern part of Sancti Spíritus Province, on the northern (Atlantic) coast of Cuba. It covers an area of 204.87 sq km (79.10 sq mi) and is one of the core areas of the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve.

The park is established around the Caguanes peninsula and includes 10 small cays (Cayos de Piedra) that reach out in the Bay of Buena Vista (a Ramsar Convention site), as well as the Guayaberas swamps and mangroves.

Caguanes National Park's coastal landscape is characterized by caves, arches and niches that open to the sea. A total of 79 caves have been recorded in the area.

The ecosystem consists of more than 200 species, 24 of them endemic. 112 species of birds nest in the marsh and coastal area. A large population of mariposa bats is present in the Tres Dolinas cave.

In addition, Caguanes National Park conserves 35 archaeological sites, most of them representing cave dwellers. Cave murals can be found in the partially submerged cave system.

Buenavista Biosphere Reserve

The Buenavista Biosphere Reserve is situated on the northern coast of Cuba, in parts of the Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Diego de Avila provinces, covering a total surface area of 313,502 ha (774,677 acres).

The larger marine part includes coral reefs, rocky and sandy beaches, while the terrestrial part is composed of evergreen microphyllous coastal and subcoastal forest, mangrove forest, and matorral (scrubland).

The Buenavista Biosphere Reserve has eleven core areas in two protected areas: Caguanes National Park and Jardines de la Reina Marine Reserve and National Park, as well as two fauna refuges located west of Santa Maria Key and Las Loras Key.

These core areas contain extraordinary natural, historical and cultural values with 35 archaeological sites and caves with rural art and wall paintings. The Biosphere Reserve has a high biodiversity of flora and fauna and many endemic (20) and threatened species.

Some 25,000 permanent inhabitants live within the biosphere reserve, in four towns and six rural villages. Their main economic activities are tourism, handicrafts, traditional medicine, apiculture (beekeeping), traditional agriculture (sugar cane), fishery, forestry and community agriculture.

Tourism has a considerable development potential. Around 7,000 tourists visit the area annually and some of the main activities are hunting, fishing, beach tourism, diving and speleology (the study or exploration of caves). Many environmental education program are carried out in the biosphere reserve.