Luquillo Experimental Forest (Caribbean NF) UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve
Luquillo Experimental Forest (Caribbean NF), Puerto Rico
Please, login to help us
Hey friend, could you provide us a wikipedia URL with a good description of this protected area?
Please, be sure that you are suggesting an english language wikipedia URL (http://en.wiki....)mark it as wrong
El Yunque National Forest, formerly known as the Luquillo National Forest, and the Caribbean National Forest, is a forest located in northeastern Puerto Rico. It is the only tropical rain forest in the United States. The forest is commonly known as El Yunque, which may be attributed to either a Spanish approximation of the aboriginal Taino word yu-ke which means "white lands", or the word anvil, which means yunque in Spanish. The second-tallest mountain within El Yunque is also named El Yunque. El Yunque National Rainforest is located on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains and it encompasses 28,000 acres (43.753 mi² or 113.32 km²) of land, making it the largest block of public land in Puerto Rico. El Toro, the highest mountain peak in the forest rises 1,065 meters (3,537 ft) above sea level. Ample rainfall (over 200 inches a year in some areas) creates a jungle-like setting - lush foliage, crags, waterfalls and rivers are a prevalent scene. The forest has a number of trails from where the jungle-like territory's flora and fauna can be appreciated.
The forest region was initially set aside in 1876 by the King Alfonso XII of Spain, and represents one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere. It was established as the Luquillo Forest Reserve on 17 January 1903 by the General Land Office with 65,950 acres (266.9 km2), and became a National Forest in 1906. It was renamed Caribbean National Forest on 4 June 1935. It is home to over 200 species of trees and plants, 23 of which are found nowhere else. The critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon (Amazona vittata), with an estimated wild population of 30 individuals, occurred exclusively in this forest until 19 November 2006, when another wild population was released by the Department of Natural Resources in the municipality of Utuado's Rio Abajo State Forest.
An Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush on 2 April 2007 changed the name of the Caribbean National Forest to El Yunque National Forest, better reflecting the cultural and historical feelings of the Puerto Rican people. Because Puerto Rico is south of the Tropic of Cancer, it has a tropical climate. There is no distinct wet or dry season in the El Yunque; it rains year round. The temperature and length of daylight remain fairly constant throughout the year. All of these factors provide a year-round growing season.
Its ecosystem is specifically surveyed by the Management Team of Ecosystems, (Equipo de Manejos de Ecosistemas) which is led by Pedro Rios. Due to its location in the North Eastern part of Puerto Rico the incoming trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean bash into the mountains, leading to an excess of rainfall registered at about 6m (240 inches) per year "About the Forest". This process is called the orographic lift and accounts for the intense rainfall and constant cloud presence in this mountainous region. This constant cloud cover and persistent winds produced by the adiabatic process of air particles rushing up through the mountainside has affected the morphology of El Yunque, but the most effect has been on the Bosque Enano or the Dwarf Forest
Typical yearly rainfall can be up to 6 m (240 inches) per year, which constitutes more than 380,000,000 m³ (100 billion US gallons) spread over the forest. The forest contains hundreds of species of trees, orchids, plants, and a few animals. You will hear the Coqui frogs and see large snails as they are enjoying the moisture of the forest. The rain helps to create the perfect ecosystem for the frogs and snails and some other creatures in the habitat. You will also hear many birds singing as you walk the trails.
El Yunque is composed of four different forest vegetation areas: Tabonuco Forest, Palo Colorado Forest, Sierra Palm Forest, and Dwarf Forest. El Yunque is also renowned for its unique Taíno petroglyphs.
This forest is located at around 900 m and composes the smallest sub-region in El Yunque. The Dwarf Forest is characterized by the variation of vegetation that is only found in Puerto Rico. The vegetation shows stunted growth where the bound of the trunk is widened and the number of leaves on the branches is lower than expected (Weaver 2008). Other specific factors that affect the growth of this sub-region is the high level of acidity and poor water runoff from the soil.
Although many species have adapted to these harsh environments 5 species are frequent in the Dwarf forest: ’’Ocotea spathulata’’, ‘’Tabebuia rigida’’,’’Calyptranthes krugii’’, ’’Eugenia borinquensis’’ and the ‘’Calycogonium squamulosum’’. After the 5 species mentioned above the other type of plants that frequent the Dwarf Rainforest are the epiphytes. As mentioned before El Yunque provides a vast array of animal and plant life that varies depending on the altitude range in the rainforest. One detail though is the great amount of competition observed in the canopy that does not allow lower level plants to develop and prosper. The characteristic of having a widened tree trunk is ideal for epiphytes that require a host to live. Therefore a substantial amount of epiphyte plants have cemented their existence in the fauna of El Yunque, specifically in the Dwarf forest do to the moisture, precipitation and protection from the sun.
The coqui which is scientifically known as the Eleutherodactylus is a diverse genus containing approximately 15 species in the island. Of the 15 species 13 of those have been found in the El Yunque National Rainforest. This small frog is no bigger than an American quarter and earned its name due to its call, which begins as the sun sets and ends in early dawn. This has made it an animal of great endearment to Puerto Ricans. Although the coqui is considered an amphibian it does possess certain differences from this group. These differences are seen mainly in its morphology, reproduction and developmental stages. In terms of morphology the coqui does not have webbings between its toes mainly because it is a tree dweller in moist environments. Another big difference is that it does not have a definite larval stage and the eggs laid by the female are terrestrial instead of aquatic (Burrowes and Longo 2010). This means that a semi-developed coqui arises from the incubation period.
The climate provided by El Yunque allows this little amphibian to reproduce year round intensified from the month of May to the month of September, which coincides with the rainy season in Puerto Rico. Although this organism has been widespread throughout the island the population has been in decline. The reason for its drop in population has been a fungus that causes skin infections and was first spotted in the 1970 when conducting research (Burrowes and Longo 2010).
The coqui has essentially become the species which controls the population of herbivorous insects. It is important to understand that its main source of food are insects that essentially pray on leafy matter. With this understanding the lack of coqui’s in the environment would lead to these insects spiraling out of control and affect the availability of nutrient for decomposition. This makes the coqui an essential component in El Yunque’s ecosystem. For these reasons it important to conduct research on the decline of these amphibians in previous years.
The decline of the coqui population has increased since the introduction in some manner of the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or better known as the Bd. (Burrowes and Longo 2010). This fungus has been extremely effective against amphibians because it can cause skin infection, which is very common in amphibians. The coqui’s found in El Yunque have somewhat become resistant to the Bd fungus at the expense of their size, which reduces the aptitude to survive in the wilderness (Burrowes, Longo and Rodriguez 2007). It was also seen that individuals that carry this fungus are more susceptible to frequent places were the Bd fungus is concentrated. Although the fungus frequents humid environments higher rate of infection was seen in drier climates because coqui’s tend to cluster in humid areas within this drier climate (Burrowes, Longo and Rodriguez 2007).
Opened in 1996, the El Portal Rain Forest Center is designed to give visitors an introduction to the rain forest. A walkway set at 60 feet above the ground allows for a view of the tops of trees, and another walkway winds along tree bases. Exhibits at the center focus on the plants and animals of the rain forest, the importance of rain forests around the world, and threats to rain forests and efforts to conserve them.
El Yunque National Forest was chosen to the be a part of the America the Beautiful Quarters program.
Protected Area updated by UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP), facilitated by UNEP-WCMC
over 1 year ago
El Yunque National Forest, formerly known as the Luquillo National Forest, and the Caribbean National Forest, is a forest located in northeastern Puerto Rico. It is the only tropical rain forest in the United States. The forest is commonly known as El Yunque, which may be attributed to either a Spanish approximation of the aboriginal Taino word yu-ke which means "white lands", or the word anvil...
Do you want to say something about this protected area? Start a thread
Thanks friend, Could you tell us where you got this information?
Sorry, it is not possible to edit this geometry online. In the next few months we will be adding tools to edit complicated boundaries. Please try again soon!