The Río San Juan Biosphere Reserve comprises seven protected areas. It covers an important variety of ecosystems representative of tropical humid forests and wetlands, tidal marshes, coastal lagoons and estuaries which are essential shelters for rare or threatened animals and plants.
Río San Juan Biosphere Reserve
The Río San Juan Biosphere Reserve comprises seven protected areas and other adjacent territories in Nicaragua, covering 1,392,900 ha (3,441,930 acres).
The Biosphere Reserve covers various ecosystems, including tropical humid forests and wetlands, tidal marshes, coastal lagoons, and estuaries. These ecosystems are essential shelters for rare or threatened animals and plants that are genetic resources of the Mesoamerican tropics.
The area of the Biosphere Reserve includes a part of Lake Cocibolca and the municipalities of El Almendro, San Miguelito, Morrito, and Nueva Guinea. This is a region where a large number of flora and fauna species are concentrated, including endemic, rare, threatened, and endangered species.
Emblematic fauna species include the Jaguar (Panthera onca), the Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), the Manatee (Trichechus manatus), the Harpy Eagle (Arpya harpija), the Green Macaw (Ara ambigua), the Sawfish (Pristis perottetti) and the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus).
Among other species, aquatic fauna is represented by freshwater sharks such as the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) and the two sawfish species (Pristis pectinatus and P. peroteti) whose unique osmotic adaptation to freshwater conditions is of great interest to scientists because it is unique worldwide.
The vast size of the Biosphere Reserve, in addition to its proximity to neighboring protected areas in Costa Rica and as part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, provides an adequate area for preserving genetic diversity, free mobility of breeding, and maintenance of significant species.
The core zone of the Rio San Juan Biosphere Reserve is inhabited by approximately 52,000 individuals who make up the original Ramas and Krioles peoples. The buffer zone is inhabited by mestizo families that have played a fundamental role in the care and protection of the natural resources of the Reserve.
The native peoples are an important factor in the conservation of the cultural patrimony of the zone as they are the archaeological and anthropological vestiges left by the tribes of Ramas, Guatuzos, Suerres, Melchoras, Botos, Guetares, and Talamancas, all originally of the Chibcha culture.