Honduran Caribbean on a Tightrope

The biodiversity of Capiro Calentura National Park, on the northern coast of Honduras, could disappear as a result of tourism, agricultural expansion, and drug trafficking, reports IPS News. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

Capiro and Calentura are two mountains in the foothills of the Nombre de Dios Sierra, close to Trujillo, capital of the Caribbean coastal province of Colón. The park has 7,542 hectares of tropical and subtropical rainforest, and in it are 20 micro-watersheds that supply water to 32 surrounding communities, including Trujillo. The park was established after a push from a group of teachers from Trujillo. It forms a natural complex with the neighbouring Guaimoreto Lagoon Wildlife Refuge, covering 10,387 hectares along the ocean.

In the last three years, a new threat has emerged here, as it has along the entire northern Honduran coast: drug trafficking. The natural canal that connects the sea to the lagoon is now a drug transit route–nobody who is not involved in trafficking dares venture there.

[. . .] Living in this area are the Garífuna (descendants of African slaves and indigenous Caribs), the indigenous Pech peoples and small farmers who migrated here from other parts of the country. There are more than 60,000 inhabitants, according to the park’s 2007 environmental management plan.

The Calentura and Guaimoreto Foundation (FUCAGUA), created in 1991 to preserve manage these sites, worked with the communities to develop an agro-forestry project in order to diversify crops. The project includes gardens to produce healthy seeds of coconut palms, decimated by hurricanes and disease, and develop fruit crops and tubers like the ñame, and legumes like the balú–staples of the local cuisine. [. . .] But it is not all good news. There are sectors of the park where the howler and white-faced monkeys, jaguars and deer can no longer be found. As for the park’s flora, valuable timber, like mahogany and ceibo seem to have disappeared. In the park’s buffer zone, land is sold without title, or the titles are issued irregularly by the National Agrarian Institute. As such, cattle ranching and food crops continue their encroachment.

[. . .] Meanwhile, the expansion of tourism continues unabated as well. The Canada-based company Life Vision Properties is building the Alta Vista and Campo del Mar Nature Park tourism complexes, complete with private neighbourhoods in the mountains or on the beach, in the Capiro Calentura and Guaimoreto buffer zone. [. . .] According to Randy Jorgensen, executive director of Life Vision, the project promotes economic development in the area. A few weeks ago, a bulldozer belonging to the company turned an old ecological path into a highway. On Jan. 22 and 25, the government issued environmental permits to the two projects. At the time, the country was still under control of the government that took power in the June 2009 coup.

FUCAGUA is now trying to get the Forest Conservation Institute to present the demarcation of the zone to Congress to make it legally binding. To do so, it will use some of the financing from the sustainable resource management project of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor in the Honduran Atlantic, provided by the European Union.

For full article, see http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51963

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s