El Yunque and Guanica State Forest: What I Learned Nicolle A. Rosa-Mercado RISE 2012 The Guanica State Forest and the Caribbean National Forest, or El Yunque, are very differentecosystems but they have some similar characteristics. They are both located in the small island ofPuerto Rico and they both have a great variety of fauna and flora. El Yunque is a has a very humidclimate and has taller trees while the Guanica State Forest has a very dry climate and smaller trees.The organisms in these environments have adapted to there corresponding surroundings bydeveloping characteristics that help them survive the extreme temperatures that they are exposed to.These two ecosystems are essential natural reserves for the plants and animal that are consideredendangered species. These two forests have a variety of communities within them. They are composed of severaldifferent sub-forests such as the dwarf forests, which contain a different variety of speciesaccording to their location and climate. Due to the extreme temperatures these plants havedeveloped characteristics, such as the presence of spikes in plants that grow in dry places, to protecteach other, mostly from the lost of water. The plant species in these ecosystems have also beenaltered by the humans through different plantations of plants, such as the Dominican caoba. Theplant species in these forests vary greatly due to the geographical conditions around them. Many of the animals that inhabit these ecosystems are considered endangered species. Oneexample of this is the Amazona vittata, or the Puertorrican parrot. During these trips, I learned thatother birds such as Margarops fuscatus, or zorzal pardo, destroy the eggs of the native parrot sothey can put their own. Other animals, like the rats and the Puertorrican boa, eat the eggs or thechicks of the parrot. Humans have greatly interferred in the endangering of this species. Ever sincethe Spaniards invaded the island they dedidacted their free tme to hunting birds, one of them beingour native parrot. Through the years humans have continued cutting down trees which served asnesting sites for these animals. During these trips I learned to appreciate the beauty withheld inside Puerto Rico. I noticed thediversity of its flora and fauna and the amazing emergent properties that they have developed underextreme circumstances. I also noticed what a shame it is that many of the people that live in theisland do not appreciate the importance of the beauty that surrounds them. I learned that everyoneshould partake in the conservation of these ecosystems because they indirectly maintain a balancein our environment. Puerto Rico is a very privileged island because of the diversity withheld insideits shores. It is amazing how such different ecosystems can be contained within such a small island.