Caparo Forest

The Caparo Forest Reserve is located in the Ezequiel Zamora municipality, south-western state of Barinas, in Venezuela’s western plains. The reserve is on the south bank of the Caparo river, the Interior Plain of Western Venezuela and Eastern Colombia, a flat lowland at the foothills of the Andes.

From the biogeographic point of view Caparo Experimental Station is located in the Colombo-Venezuelan Llanos region. Caparo Forest Reserve is classified as a tropical dry forest, a designation based on the Holdridge Life Zone System (Holdridge, 1967).  According to Janzen (1988), it is a tropical dry forest, which is the most endangered major tropical ecosystem in the world.

During 1950 and 1960 there were four Forest Reserves in the area: Turén, Ticoporo, Caparo and San Camilo reserves, which originally covered an area of 1 million ha. These reserves, however, have been subjected to processes of land settlement, which have not been controlled by the state.

Current situation of the Caparo Forest Reserve and Caparo Experimental Station

Caparo reserve covered  originally an area of 184,100 ha. After years of deforestation, currently survive less than 7,000 ha of continuous forest.  This 7,000 ha constitute the Caparo Experimental Station that is owned owned by the University of the Andes (ULA) since 1970, and it is protected under the figure of Commodatum contract between ULA and the Ministry of the Environment.  This station is dedicated to research and teaching in the field.

SPOT image of the Caparo Forest Reserve

This  satellite image SPOT 5 (2007) of Caparo Forestry Reserve shows the fragmentation and deforestation and the forest patch of 7,000 ha (Caparo Experimental Station, green oval) that remain.

Deforestation dynamics

Dynamics of deforestation in the Caparo Forest Reserve 1990-2010