Cienaga de Lanier y Sur de la Isla de la Juventud

Site description (2008 baseline):

Site location and context
Ciénaga de Lanier y Sur de la Isla de la Juventud IBA is in the southern part of Isla de la Juventud, in the Canarreos Archipelago, off the south coast of western Cuba. It includes the Ciénaga de Lanier, which stretches from Ensenada de Siguanea to the eastern Ensenada of San Juan, and divides the north of the island from the karstic plains and coastal zones to the south. The IBA supports a wide diversity of wetland and coastal habitats. Cocodrilo and Cayo Piedras with 300 and 20 inhabitants, respectively, are located within the IBA, whereas the communities of Santa Fé, Mella, and La Reforma are in surrounding areas.

Key biodiversity
This IBA is notable for its resident and migratory waterbirds, including globally significant populations of the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea and the resident subspecies of Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis nesiotes. Terrestrial species include the Endangered Giant Kingbird Tyrannus cubensis and a huge population of Near Threatened White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala .

Non-bird biodiversity: Reptiles include the Endangered Cuban crocodile Crocodylus rhombifer, and the Vulnerable American crocodile C. acutus and Cuban ground iguana Cyclura nubila. The hutia Mysateles meridionalis is endemic to Isla de la Juventud, and the fish Atractosteus tristoechus is restricted to Zapata and Lanier swamps.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Ciénaga de Lanier y Sur de la Isla de la Juventud IBA was declared a managed resource protected area in 1990 and in 1998 the southern part of the island and the eastern cays were declared a special region of sustainable development. Its core zones, Punta Francés National Park and Punta del Este Ecological Reserve are awaiting approval as nationally significant areas. The Los Indios Ecological Reserve is also awaiting approval. The IBA was declared a Ramsar site in 2002. Local uses of the area include small-scale fishing (by a cooperative in Cocodrilo) and small-scale forest exploitation through selective logging. Limestone was quarried near Cayo Piedras, and could be resumed in the future. This IBA is threatened by a large-scale tourism development plan as well as the impacts of introduced invasive species. Dams constructed to the north of the marsh are restricting the freshwater input to the wetland.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Cienaga de Lanier y Sur de la Isla de la Juventud. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023.