Puerto Rico Posts

Puerto Rico’s Protected Areas Map and Inventory Updated


SAN JUAN — The partnership of government agencies and non-governmental organizations known as the Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT) released today the 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico. The updated inventory includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. In 2016, 1,076 hectares (2,659 acres) were added to the protected land inventory while a new marine extent added 6,490 hectares (16,036 acres) to the protected seas around Puerto Rico. These additions bring the amount of terrestrial protected areas to 16.1% and 26.7% for marine protected areas. Additionally, six area boundaries and changes in the attribute table for eight areas are included in this update. After the team updated the inventory, the Government of Puerto Rico declared the zone of Mar Chiquita in the municipality of Manatí a nature reserve; this new reserve will be included in the December 2017 update next year.

 

The December 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.

The December 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Partners worked together to identify and compile updates of the protected areas of Puerto Rico from each agency’s database. This year, the U.S Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry GIS Lab undertook the technical tasks to update the island’s inventory and create the map figures, while collaborating with personnel from the DNER Coastal Management Program and Para La Naturaleza to document the changes and identify issues between datasets (Cartography Credit: Maya Quiñones, U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry).

 

The PA-CAT was formalized in 2015 and in December of that year the first collaborative protected areas inventory and map were released. The action team plans to release a new version each year in the month of December for use by multiple agencies, organizations, and the public. No single inventory or common terminology for the different protected area designations existed prior to 2015. Despite past efforts to develop a comprehensive inventory of protected areas for the island, individual agency inventories continued to evolve with little input and in isolation from each other.  By working together team members are moving towards a unified vision for protected areas in Puerto Rico. This vision should reduce the long recognized limitations in planning and monitoring of conservation effectiveness. These limitations result from the lack of standard terminology, guidelines or protocols combined with historical fragmentation and complexity of policies applied to the natural protected areas. The PA-CAT defines a Natural Protected Area as “a geographic area clearly defined and delimited through legal or other effective means for the long-term conservation of its natural resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services and associated cultural values.”  On April 19, 2016 the principal entities of the team signed a collaborative agreement to coordinate efforts to develop and manage information and to provide mechanisms and protection strategies for natural protected areas and cultural resources in public and private lands in Puerto Rico.


 

To view the map interactively or to access the data visit: CLCC Interactive Map http://caribbeanlcc.org/interactive-map/

To view the map interactively or to download the data visit:

CLCC Interactive Map in the Data Center or the Caribbean Conservation Planning Atlas.

Data can also be downloaded at the U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry website.

 


DETAILED STATS

December 2016 Protected Areas Inventory 
164 total PAs (not counting legacy areas as individual PAs)
137 terrestrial
27 marine
3 small areas of overlap between PAs. In revision
9 zonas de amortiguamiento (not counted as PAs)
1076 ha (2659 acres) increase in terrestrial PA land from 2015 inventory
6490 ha (16036 acres) increase in marine PA extent from 2015 inventory
143590.09 ha (354818.85 acres) total land protected in 2016
361887.17 ha (894242.67 acres) total sea protected in 2016
16.1% 2016 % of terrestrial PAs
26.7% 2016 % of marine PAs

 

Changes between the 2015 and 2016 inventories

New Areas

Para La Naturaleza:

  1. 1. Área Natural Protegida Rio Bairoa
  2. Área Natural Protegida La Pitahaya
  3. Área Natural Protegida Los Llanos
  4. Área Natural Protegida Cerro La Tuna
  5. Área Natural Protegida Rio Toa Vaca
  6. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Lago
  7. Área Natural Protegida Freddie Ramírez
  8. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Pellejas

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

  1. Reserva Natural Playa Grande El Paraíso—DRNA
  2. Ext. Marina R.N. Playa Larga El Paraíso—DRNA

Changes in the Boundaries

Para La Naturaleza

  1. Área Natural Protegida Medio Mundo y Daguao
  2. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Buena Vista—absorbs Marueño
  3. Área Natural Protegida Río Encantado—overlap with the Karst Conservation Zone
  4. Área Natural Protegida Cañón San Cristóbal

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

  1. Reserva Natural Planadas – Yeyesa—DRNA
  2. Finca Nolla—DRNA

Overlap Problems Corrected

  1. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Pellejas—small overlap (2.4 ha) in the southern area with the Bosque del Pueblo in Adjuntas
  2. Planadas Yeyesa—small overlap (.04 ha) with Piedras del Collado

Changes in the Attributes

  1. Conservation Easement Reserva Natural Punta Ballenas—Designation: Bosque Estatal / Reserva Natural / Servidumbre de Conservación
  2. Name change to R.V.S. Iris Alameda de Boquerón – B.E.  de Boquerón
  3. Name change to Reserva Natural Cayo Ratones – B. E. de Boquerón
  4. Área Natural Protegida Marueño— changed to be part of Hacienda Buena Vista
  5. ANP Pedro Marrero changed name to ANP Río Sana Muerto
  6. Conservation Easement Don Ingenio changed name to ANP Río Toro Negro
  7. Name change to Guayama Research Area
  8. Name change to Manati Research Area
  9. Área Natural Protegida Finca Jájome—name change to Área Natural Protegida Jájome
  10. Área Natural Protegida Sendra—name change to Área Natural Protegida Hermanas Sendra
  11. Finca Los Frailes—name change to Área Natural Protegida Los Frailes
  12. Finca Shapiro—name change to Área Natural Protegida Shapiro
  13. Área Natural Protegida Río Toa Vaca—name change to Área Natural Protegida Toa Vaca

Additions to the Puerto Rico Protected Areas Inventory shown in dark green for terrestrial areas and dark blue for marine extents.

Additions to the Puerto Rico Protected Areas Inventory shown in dark green for terrestrial areas and dark blue for marine extents.


The Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT) is composed of multiple partners, including Federal and State agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals from Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. These include, among others,  the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR),  International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) of the United States Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Puerto Rico Conservation Trust and its unit Para La Naturaleza,  Foundation Alma de Bahía, Bahía Beach Resort, Puerto Rico Planning Board, Foundation for Development Planning, Inc., University of the Virgin Islands, and the University of Puerto Rico. These agencies and organizations work together in an alliance called the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Dune-CAT Partners with Knights of Columbus


The Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation Conservation Action Team (Dune-CAT) is developing a partnership with the Caballeros de Colón (Knights of Columbus) to establish a demonstration project for dune building in front of the Caballeros de Colón clubhouse in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. The project will be used as an educational and awareness raising tool to demonstrate the best practices and procedures when creating dunes using vegetation. The site will also show how these features serve to protect against swells and mitigate erosion caused by sea level rise and more intense swells.

Dune-CAT meets with the Knights of Columbus in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of Pedro Gonzalez, Mare Society

On March 2nd, 2016 in Isla Verde, Carolina on the north coast of Puerto Rico, a condo owners meeting was held at Hotel Verdanza. It was convened by State Representative Angel Matos, President of the Tourism Industry Development Commission. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the problem of erosion in a section of the beach. Ernesto Diaz, Director of Coastal Zone Management Office and Climate Change Council of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) and the Undersecretary of the DNER, were also at the meeting. Paco Lopez, a neighbor to the Pine Grove condos invited Pedro Gonzalez, President of the MARE Society and coordinator of the Dune-CAT. Paco spoke briefly about the importance of corals in mitigating beach erosion through the attenuation of wave energy. He also mentioned the effects on corals from sanitary effluents and sedimentation. Pedro had the opportunity to talk to neighbors very briefly about the causes of erosion and about the Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation Conservation Action Team (Dune-CAT) and the importance of planting vegetation on the beaches to mitigate erosion. The comments were met with a lot of interest. Many offered to support and help in the planting. Rep. Matos asked Pedro to give a formal presentation on the subject.

Carlos Homs of the Caballeros de Colón club was especially interested and asked to establish a demonstration project for the creation of dunes on the beach in front of the clubhouse. The Knights of Columbus is an international fraternal organization of Catholic men age 18 years and older who support charities throughout the parish and community. In chapter in Isla Verde is known as Caballeros de Colón Consejo San Juan Bautista 1543. A formal meeting occurred between the Caballeros de Colón and the Dune-CAT to develop the partnership.

Any individuals or organizations interested in this partnership can contact Pedro Gonzalez, President of the MARE Society, at pedro [at] maresociety [dot] org.

New EPA Factsheet: What Climate Change Means for Puerto Rico


EPA just published a series of fact sheets, “What Climate Change Means for Your State,”  which focus on the impacts of climate change in each of the 50 states and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. These 52 fact sheets compile information from previously published synthesis and assessment reports to provide a handy reference for state and local policymakers, businesses, and individuals who are looking to communicate impacts of climate change in a given state.  The fact sheets can be found at: www3.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts/state-impact-factsheets.html.  Fact sheets on the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia will be coming soon.

 

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Protected Areas Conservation Team (PA-CAT) celebrates Puerto Rico meeting its target to protect 16% of its lands


PRESS RELEASE

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Protected Areas Conservation Team (PA-CAT) celebrates Puerto Rico meeting its target to protect 16% of its lands

Haga clic aquí para descargar los nuevos datos de las áreas protegidas de Puerto Rico en el mapa interactivo del CLCC.

Click here to download new Protected Areas data of Puerto Rico in the Interactive Map of the CLCC.

Barranquitas-Comerío, Puerto Rico — The Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT), composed of the principal entities that manage Puerto Rico’s natural resources celebrated today the announcement that Puerto Rico achieved protection of 16% of its territory.

The 16 percent was achieved by adding existing Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) acquired by the state that were not previously counted, the acquisition of new lands for conservation by governmental and non-governmental organizations, and through a revision of the methodology traditionally used to count NPAs, which included the development of a new definition of NPAs that is in line with the parameters established in the United States and the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the global level.

This new definition by the PA-CAT establishes that “A Natural Protected Area is a Geographic area clearly define and limited through legal or other effective means for long term conservation of nature, biodiversity, ecological services and associated cultural values.”  

The methodology established by the PA-CAT Team assesses whether other areas with different protection mechanisms that are not the traditional mechanisms meet the requirements to be considered a Natural Protected Area under the new definition. One of these areas are the lands classified as Suelo Rústico Especialmente Protegido de la Zona Restricta del Área de Planificación Especial del Carso or Specially Protected Rustic Land of the Restricted Zone of the Special Planning Area of the Karst, as well as some parks, botanical gardens and landscapes or tracts of territory inhabited and managed by private owners where there are multiple uses compatible with conservation.

Leopoldo Miranda, Assistant Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) mentioned: “The goal to protect the natural and cultural legacy of Puerto Rico is vital to ensure sustainable development now and for the future generations of the island. These lands are protected by thousands of private property owners, private organizations in conjunction with state and federal agencies and make sure that the island has a solid natural infrastructure able to support our healthy wildlife populations.”

Dr. Ariel Lugo, Director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) expressed “I support this initiative. The green areas and protected areas increase our quality of life in Puerto Rico. We need to protect the public interest and we know that citizens want to safeguard our species, recreate with friends and families in green areas, reduce flood risk and improve water quality. But protected areas are only one component of the broader panorama of conservation in Puerto Rico; through this team wee used a new approach of an integrated systems for the conservation of nature that includes various mechanisms for conservation of public and cultural values.”

Fernando Lloveras San Miguel, President of Para La Naturaleza, a unit of the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, indicated: “Para la Naturaleza celebrates this development as a major step in our mission to achieve the protection of 33 percent of our territory for 2033. This significant conservation percentage increase is the result of collaboration of many sectors that are working together to effectively implement the conservation sciences and promote creative tools such as easements, land use plans and community initiatives. Our commitment is to keep moving us in this direction to protect the vital ecosystems that Puerto Rico needs to survive, while we strengthen our position as a destination for nature.”

Dr. William Gould, former Coordinator of the CLCC, stressed that: “the landscape of Puerto Rico is abundant in natural and cultural resources, el paisaje de Puerto Rico es abundante en recursos naturales y culturales, being very complex in terms of use, planning and management. The development and exchange of information is essential for public and private managers of natural resources so they can work efficiently taking into account the landscape as a whole. In this era of challenges and limited financial resources, it is even more important that state agencies and non-governmental organizations work together to synthesize information, coordinate scientific research, facilitate the exchange of knowledge and thus achieve effective management of ecosystems at the island level. It is for this important work the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative exists and this multi-organizational action team for the conservation of protected areas.”

Martin Smith, Manager and Director of the Bahía Beach Resort & Golf Club and Director of the Alma de Bahía Foundation, declared: “We are committed to the conservation of natural resources, ecosystems and wildlife in Puerto Rico, and honored to participate in this initiative that has allowed to join efforts with public and private organizations to support the consolidation of a System of Conservation that has at its core different categories of protected areas and promotes sustainability in the long term.”

Luis García Pelatti, President of the Puerto Rico Planning Board, pointed out: “Achieving the protection of 16 percent of Puerto Rico, with a level of conservation that can be measured by a group of knowledgeable entities in these matters, confirms the efforts of the Planning Board with the Land Use Plan to identify the 31 percent of Puerto Rico with ecological value.”

Related to the protection of a new protected area in Barranquitas-Comerío, Carlos Collazo Berríos, President of Comité Pro Reserva Natural Cañón Las Bocas, Inc., expressed: “15 years ago the Comité Pro Reserva Natural Cañón las Bocas described the magic of a unique ecological treasure between our mountains and was exploring the wonders of fauna, flora and the richness of its water resources. Their efforts placed Canyon Las Bocas on the map of the world and introduced the area to the scientific community the importance of its preservation. Consistency, commitment and educational work from the communities has been key so that today we celebrate a significant step to further promote the conservation of what will undoubtedly be the first nature reserve of Barranquitas and Comerio.”

The PA-CAT was created January 26, 2015 with the main objective to provide the information and advice needed to identify, recognize and manage the Protected Areas network on the Caribbean islands that are part of the United States. It also proposes the establishment of an Integrated System for the Conservation of Nature that other than Natural Protected Areas includes land use policies, special designations and other mechanisms that promote biodiversity conservation in public or private lands, through regulations or incentive programs. Using this system current initiatives are documented, a shared database is created, and strategic conservation is promoted using different tools.

The PA-CAT is composed by multiple entities, between federal agencies, state and non-governmental organizations, among others, including: the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) of the United States Forest Service (USFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust (Para La Naturaleza in Spanish), the Foundation Alma de Bahía, the Bahía Beach Resort, the Planning Board (JP, the acronym in Spanish), and the University of Puerto Rico. These agencies and organizations work together in an alliance called the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

The initiative signed a collaboration agreement between all entities comprising the PA-CAT in order to coordinate efforts to develop and manage information and provide mechanisms and protection strategies for protected natural areas and cultural resources of Puerto Rico in public areas and private.

Los directores de las organizaciones principales del Equipo PA-CAT firmaron un memorando de acuerdo para continuar trabajando a través de las agencias y organizaciones para el apoyo de la gestión de áreas protegidas. Primera fila (sentados, de izquierda a derecha): Leo Miranda, FWS, Carmen Guerrero, PR DRNA, William Gould, IITF. Segunda fila (de pie, de izquierda a derecha): Fernando Lloveras, Para la Naturaleza, Luis Pelatti, Junta de Planificación, Martin Smith, Bahía Beach Resort & Golf Club y director de la Fundación Alma de Bahía

The directors of the principal organizations of the Protected Areas Conservation Action Team signed a memorandum of agreement to continue working through the agencies and organizations that support the managment of protected areas. First row (seated, from left to right): Leo Miranda, FWS, Carmen Guerrero, PR DNER, William Gould, IITF. Second row (standing, from left to right):  Fernando Lloveras, Para la Naturaleza, Luis Pelatti, Junta de Planificación, Martin Smith, Bahía Beach Resort & Golf Club and director of the Fundación Alma de Bahía

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Contacts:

DNER: Maricelis Rivera 787-615-2876 / Carmen M. Díaz 787-344-4701

CLCC / IITF / USFS: Kasey R Jacobs, kaseyrjacobs@caribbeanlcc.org, 787-764-7137

Para la Naturaleza: Yazmín Solla 787-942-1694 / yazmin.solla@gmail.com

Comité Pro Reserva Natural Cañón Las Bocas, Inc.: 939-256-9912 / canonlasbocas@gmail.com