Sabanas de Manacas Model Forest

Country: Cuba
Location: Province of Villa Clara, central region of Cuba
Year joined IMFN: 2008
Area of Model Forest: 171,700 hectares
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network

Contact information

Noel Vidal Barrios

Forest profile and resources
The Sabanas de Manacas Model Forest (SMMF) is located to the northeast of the city of Santa Clara, in the municipalities of Santo Domingo and Corralillo, and represents 20.4% of the total surface area of the province of Villa Clara. The predominant climate is hot tropical, with seasonal humidity. The topography is generally flat, with a good part of the territory featuring slopes of less than 15%, with isolated elevations here and there.

Studies conducted on edaphic resources show that 75% of the soils are characterized as having low or very low productivity. The soil degradation occurring in the area is primarily due to inadequate management of this resource, including insufficient execution of means of soil conservation and improvement. All of these soil degradation processes, including desertification, are connected to insufficient forest cover, a result of deforestation. The total forested area covers some 22,000 hectares, divided into 6,300 ha of plantations and 15,700 ha of natural forest with a certain level of deterioration resulting from exploitation.

Economic profile
Of the 171,700 ha in the Model Forest, 145,307 are given over to farming, while the rest (26,393 ha) is non-agricultural (water area, population settlements, roadways, and other). Of the total surface area, 34% is dedicated to livestock farming, 20% to cultivation of sugarcane and sugar, and 18% to forestry activity, with the remainder falling to other crops. The perspective use of the soil is to dedicate 32% to forestry activities (55,000 hectares) with the transfer of areas that today are used for livestock farming and sugarcane cultivation over to forestry uses, increasing the wooded area through reforestation programs.

At the end of 2004, the estimated population in the area rose to 81,621 inhabitants, with a population density of 47.5 persons/km2. Of this total, 77% live in urban areas, and 23% in rural zones. A large part of the urban population works, making a living in the rural areas. The quality of life among those who live in the urban zones is superior to that found in the rural or intermixed zones.


  • State forestry service [Servicio Forestal Estatal (SEF)]
  • Municipal governments
  • Cooperative and farmworker sector [Sector Cooperativo y Campesino (SCC)]
  • Integral forestry company [Empresa Forestal Integral (EFI)]
  • National company for the protection of flora and fauna [Empresa Nacional para la Protección de Flora y Fauna (EPFF)]
  • Ministry of science, technology, and the environment [Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente (CITMA)]
  • Institute for forestry research [Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales (IIF)]
  • Forest guards [Cuerpo de Guarda Bosques (CGB)]
  • Ministry of Sugar (MINAZ)
  • Agro-fishing and livestock farming businesses
  • Las Villas central university [Universidad Central de las Villas]
  • National association of small farmers [Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños (ANAP)]
  • Cuban association of agricultural and forestry technologies [Asociación Cubana de Técnicos Agrícolas y Forestales (ACTAF)]
  • Cuban association for animal production [Asociación Cubana de Producción Animal (ACPA)]

Strategic goals

  • To establish and strengthen the SMMF
  • Education and training
  • Forestry and production development
  • Management and conservation of biodiversity
  • Cooperation, exchange and training of resources