Sierra del Rosario

Site description (2008 baseline):

Site location and context
Sierra del Rosario IBA is located to the east of Cordillera de Guaniguanico, in the municipalities of Artemisa, Candelaria, and Bahía Honda, straddling the border between Pinar del Río and Havana provinces. Las Peladas Natural Reserve and El Salón Ecological Reserve comprise the core zone of the biosphere reserve. The IBA boundaries are the same as those of the biosphere reserve. The reserve’s eastern entrance is located 50 km south-west of Havana. The IBA supports 4,800 people in eight communities, one of which, Las Terrazas has developed a sustainable rural economy and is also an ecotourism centre. There are remains of seventeenth century French coffee plantations around Las Terrazas.

Key biodiversity
This IBA is home to 93 bird species (32 of which are biome restricted species), including 16 Cuba endemics and 10 globally threatened birds. These threatened species include the Endangered Blue-headed Quail-dove Starnoenas cyanocephala, Giant Kingbird Tyrannus cubensis and Gundlach’s Hawk Accipiter gundlachi, the Vulnerable Fernandina’s Flicker Colaptes fernandinae and the Near Threatened Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus and White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include the endemic hutias Capromys pilorides and Mysateles prehensilis, and 11 species of bats. The lizards Anolis vermiculatus, A. bartschi, and A. mestrei are endemic to the Pinar del Río karst, and five amphibians are also local endemics.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Sierra del Rosario IBA was the first biosphere reserve to be declared in Cuba (in 1985). The core zones of Las Peladas and El Salón were approved by the government in 2008. Farming is fundamental to the livelihoods of the reserve’s residents. Activities in the transition zone include cattle ranching, forestry, mixed crops, tourism (around Las Terrazas and Soroa), and conservation. However, the core zones are limited to research, monitoring, and environmental education. Sustainable livelihood practices are implemented in this IBA, in particular by the Las Terrazas community. Threats include illegal hunting and logging, forest fires, erosion, and pollution caused by untreated discharges from pig and poultry farms. Access to the zone is still regulated, but very large numbers of visitors have been reported at camp sites. The reserve has also been affected by the construction of two large dams in the transition zone.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Sierra del Rosario. Downloaded from on 25/09/2023.