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      Biosphere Reserve Information

El Salvador


  General Description   The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve belongs to the Central Volcanic Chain of El Salvador, and contains both the oldest volcano (Caldera of the Lake Coatepeque) and a more recent formation (Izalco Volcano, from which the name of the Biosphere Reserve derives). Its core areas preserve remnants of natural ecosystems of high ecological significance. The most prominent are the plants growing on lava formations, primary successors that play a fundamental role for the infiltration of water into one of the most important aquifers in the country. Another critical ground cover for harvesting water in this area consists of shade-grown coffee. Approximately 70% of the surface of the Faro del Pacifico Biosphere Reserve, corresponds to this type of land use. The shaded coffee plantations are a key element in the landscape. Several studies conducted in the area demonstrate the ability to keep a high biodiversity, especially those with traditional coffee growing systems where the natural forest canopy is conserved and undergrowth is replaced by coffee plants. Likewise, for its arboreal structure and composition, this system forms the basis of connectivity of the remaining natural ecosystems contained in the proposed core zone, and the mainstay of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, in this sector of El Salvador.

The human population concentrated in the Reserve is mostly in the towns of the proposed transitional zone. These human settlements date from pre-Columbian times, and retain much of their ancestral traditions and cultural traits, making it one of the most interesting places in the country from a cultural point of view.

Sustainable development based on conservation of shaded coffee plantations, development of rural sustainable tourism, conservation and promotion of indigenous culture and the dignity of their communities and traditions and the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and biological connectivity, will be the connecting theme of the activities within the Biosphere Reserve, which will undoubtedly encourage conducting research and environmental education to support these processes.
  Major ecosystem type   Native vegetation growing over volcanic lava
  Major habitats & land cover types   Shade grown coffee
  Location   8940'00''W and 1350'00''N
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   59,056
  Core area(s)   3,980
  Buffer zone(s)   25,849
  Transition area(s) when given   29,226
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   2,381 300
  Year designated   2007
  Administrative authorities   Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (MARN)
  Brief description  
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   n.a.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Patricia Quintana

El Salvador

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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