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Buenavista Biosphere Reserve, Cuba

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 hectares. 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.

Designation date: 2000


Regional network: IberoMAB

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 313,500 ha

    • Core area(s): 76,518 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 19,570 ha 
    • Transition zone(s): 217,412 ha

    Location: 22°27'37"N   79°00'24"W

    Administrative Authorities

    Ernesto Pulido Garcia
    Coronel Legón # 268
    Sancti Spiritus

    Tel.: (53-41) 327-779

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    Ecological Characteristics

    The diversity of geographical regions is reflected in the great variety of terrestrial, coastal and marine areas of great significance as zones of high ecological sensitivity, high biodiversity and remarkable genetic background, to which floristic, faunistic, speleological and landscape values are added.

    The Buenavista Biosphere Reserve is an important area from the point of view of its fauna, because the heterogeneity of its habitat has made it possible to develop a high richness of species, which use it mainly as a place of refuge, feeding and reproduction, as well as temporary parking areas and places to move around during migrations. In general, 873 species have been inventoried, distributed in 627 genera and 282 families. Endemism represents an important zoogeographic component, with 176 endemics recorded to date, 

    The Buenavista Biosphere Reserve has eleven core areas in two National Parks: Caguanes and Santa Maria Key and two Fauna refuges: 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. 


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Some 25,524 permanent inhabitants (2001) live in the biosphere reserve in four towns and six rural villages. Their main economic activities are tourism, handicrafts, traditional medicine, apiculture, 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. Conservation of traditional practices for the use of natural resources by local communities strengthens their cultural identity. Many environmental education programmes are carried out in the biosphere reserve. Several national and international scientific projects are being carried out and current research activities including hydro-meteorological parameters, conservation of beaches, as well as characterization and possible exploitation of water and therapeutic mud on small islands. UNESCO is providing a support for a research project on mangroves.


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    Last updated: February 2019