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Susúa Forest Reserve

DNRE, Oct. 1976

The Susúa Forest Reserve (3341 cuerdas) is located in the municipalities of Yauco and Sabana Grande. The highest elevation (473 m) is found in the northeast corner of the forest, near the Jose J. Acosta School, and the lowest elevation (80 m) is found in the southern extreme of the forest.

The Susúa forest lies between the humid Central Cordillera and the dry coastal plains typical of the south coast. Mean annual precipitation is 1413 mm and mean annual temperature is 23.9 degrees. Much of the rainfall is orographic and is produced by the lifting of moist trade winds over interior ridges. Most of the rainfall falls as brief showers. Rainfall is generally heaviest in August, September and October and is lightest during February and March. 

The forest of Susúa represents not only the influence of a climatic transition zone (dry to moist), but also a combination of volcanic and serpentine soils. Two vegetation associations (dry slope forest and gallery forest) have been deliniated in the sub-tropical moist life zone. The serpentine-derived soil (Nipe and Rosario series) supports a unique vegetation, which contains a number of endemics, but does not support any significant agriculture or forestry. The trees are slender, open crowned, and usually less than 12 m tall. The forest floor is open, for the excessively drained soil supports little herbaceous growth. Due to increased soil moisture, the gallery forest along the banks of Río Loco supports taller vegetation as compared to the dry upper slopes. Common species found in the Susua forest include: Bursera simaraba, Exostema caribaeum, Linociera axillaris, Coccoloba microstachia and Neolaguaria resinosa.

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