Sierra del Rosario
By Alina Veranes
The Sierra del Rosario, spread over 26,000 hectares or 250 sq.km through the easternmost part of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico, was the first natural emporium declared in Cuba as a Biosphere Reserve -with international category-, on February 15, 1985.
Today it belongs to the young province of Artemisa, but the Sierra del Rosario Ecological Station has been operating successfully there for over 25 years, in charge of research on the environment, systematic studies and keeping careful records of the forest and fauna, for its preservation.
Because, although today it is a natural environment where wildlife is protected, in close collaboration with human activity, it cannot be denied that it was a region heavily abused and exploited by man long ago.
Today everything has been changing gradually and it has been a difficult job, but full of satisfaction. Of course, improvable, the Reserve occupies a mountainous relief, among which the heights El Taburete, El Mulo, Las Peladas, El Rubí and El Mogote stand out.
The evergreen tropical forest dominates as plant formation, but there are also beautiful pine forests, semi-deciduous formations, shrubs and grasses in its intra-mountain valleys. The results of scientific-technical projects and services undertaken have made it possible to gain the status of Reference Center.
Conserving the biodiversity that finds a home there is a central task of the Station. The dense foliage that today wins over the Reserve favors the existence of a varied fauna: birds, with 117 species from 30 families, reptiles with 33 species and 81.8 endemism, and 16 amphibian species with 81.7, are the most notable, in a habitat where numerous coffee plantations flourished, founded by French settlers from Louisiana, United States in the 19th century.
Today the population is mainly concentrated in the beautiful communities of Las Terrazas and Soroa, examples of a management that strives to save nature and live in total cohesion and harmony with it.