Collaboration Updates Puerto Rico’s Protected Areas Map and Inventory

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Just how is the 2016 Puerto Rico Protected Areas map different than 2015?

SAN JUAN — The partnership of government agencies and non-governmental organizations known as the Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT) released the 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico on December 30, 2016. 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.

Map Caption: 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.

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 download the data click here.

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

Detailed Statistics for the 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:

Área Natural Protegida Rio Bairoa; Área Natural Protegida La Pitahaya; Área Natural Protegida Los Llanos; Área Natural Protegida Cerro La Tuna; Área Natural Protegida Rio Toa Vaca; Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Lago; Área Natural Protegida Freddie Ramírez; Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Pellejas.

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

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

Changes in the Boundaries

Para La Naturaleza

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

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

Reserva Natural Planadas – Yeyesa—DRNA; Finca Nolla—DRNA.

Overlap Problems Corrected

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

Changes in the Attributes

Conservation Easement Reserva Natural Punta Ballenas—Designation: Bosque Estatal / Reserva Natural / Servidumbre de Conservación; Name change to R.V.S. Iris Alameda de Boquerón – B.E. de Boquerón; Name change to Reserva Natural Cayo Ratones – B. E. de Boquerón; Área Natural Protegida Marueño— changed to be part of Hacienda Buena Vista; ANP Pedro Marrero changed name to ANP Río Sana Muerto; Conservation Easement Don Ingenio changed name to ANP Río Toro Negro; Name change to Guayama Research Area; Name change to Manati Research Area; Área Natural Protegida Finca Jájome—name change to Área Natural Protegida Jájome; Área Natural Protegida Sendra—name change to Área Natural Protegida Hermanas Sendra; Finca Los Frailes—name change to Área Natural Protegida Los Frailes; Finca Shapiro—name change to Área Natural Protegida Shapiro; 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.

Map Caption: Additions to the Puerto Rico Protected Areas Inventory shown in dark green for terrestrial areas and dark blue for marine extents(Cartography Credit: Maya Quiñones, U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry).

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.
Citation
Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative. 2017. Collaboration Updates Puerto Rico’s Protected Areas Map and Inventory. In: Data Basin. [First published in Data Basin on Jan 4, 2017; Retrieved on Nov 12, 2019] <https://databasin.org/articles/005a2ea6ddbc41f7bc2855eb411f715f>

About the Author

Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Administration account for the Caribbean LCC Conservation Planning Atlas.We represent a partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in achieving a sustainable future for the Caribbean Islands, by addressing some of the issues that currently...