The Topes de Collantes IBA is an area of hills within the Sierra
del Escambray (part of the Guamuhaya massif) in southwestern
Sancti Spiritus province. These hills are characterised
by their structural and tectonic complexity (including areas
of karst limestone) as well as their cool climate. This has
resulted in a diverse range of vegetation types including
evergreen forest, pine forest, riparian forest and grasslands,
semi-deciduous forest, and secondary scrub containing
Dichrostachys cinerea in deforested areas.
This IBA supports populations of 26 (of the 48) Greater
Antilles biome-restricted including the Endangered
Gundlach’s Hawk Accipiter gundlachi, Vulnerable Cuban
Parakeet Aratinga euops and Grey-headed Quail-dove
Geotrygon caniceps, and Near Threatened Cuban Amazon
Amazona leucocephala. Other species of interest include Cuban
Green Woodpecker Xiphidiopicus percussus, Limpkin Aramus
guarauna, Cuban Martin Progne cryptoleuca, Tree Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor, Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina,
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla, Ovenbird Seiurus
aurocapilla, and Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Of the 488 higher plant species present, 53 are endemic, 22 of
which with some category of global threat. Twenty-five
endemics of the Guamuhaya sector have been reported in Pico
Potrerillo, including local endemics such as Vernonia
potrerilloana, Rondeletia potrerilloana and Psychotria martii.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Topes de Collantes IBA has been proposed as a natural
protected landscape within the National System of Protected
Areas. It is managed by the Topes de Collantes Touristic
Complex of the Gaviota Touristic Enterprise. Land is mostly
used for agriculture, forestry and tourism. The principal threat
to the IBA is the high demand for nature tourism and related
activities such as the commercialisation and extraction of
species, mostly orchids, by tourists. Natural areas suffer from
heavy human pressure and a high incidence of erosion, as well
as water pollution (especially in the Río Vegas Grandes). Other
threats include dry season forest fires and invasive plants such
as Dichrostachys cinerea.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Topes de Collantes. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2020.