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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve runs along the western edge of the Gracias a Dios Province. It is also inscribed on the World Heritage List because of its biophysical, as well as cultural and historical characteristics. The biosphere reserve is one of the largest and diverse humid tropical forests in Mesoamerica. It represents habitats for a significant biological diversity and counts four ethnic groups within its limits. The area is also a historical site of archaeological importance and it has more than 200 sites with this type of resources. Nevertheless, strong social, economic and political pressures exist today for its colonization. The advance of the agricultural front and the inadequate management of its natural and cultural resources are examples of these pressures. Some 650 inhabitants (1998) live in the reserve. Despite the importance of the area, it faces critical pressure from immigrating settlers in search of lands and in their wake follow timber merchants, agricultural and livestock activities. The ethnics groups of the reserve (Garifuna, Pech, Tawahka and Miskito) have organized themselves and requesting effective participation in the management and administration of some of the areas within the reserve. The main goal of the biosphere reserve is to protect the area from colonization and deforestation, assist local farmers associations and indigenous people in the sustainable use of natural resources, and to establish a baseline of information through research.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests including coastal/marine component
  Major habitats & land cover types   Humid tropical forest; very humid tropical forest; pine savannas dominated by Pinus caribea, yagua palm (Paurotis spp.); mangroves with Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemosa; swamp forest; coastal lagoons; hardwood gallery forest with Inga spp., Cecropia spp., Heliconia spp. and Pachira aquatica; high mountain areas with mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Tebebuia spp., cedar (Cedrela odorata) etc.; rivers; agroecosystems; pasture land
  Location   15°00' to 15°50'N; 84°15' to 85°30'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   800,000
  Core area(s)   318,200
  Buffer zone(s)   481,800 (Zona amortiguamiento y zona cultural)
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +1,326
  Year designated   1980
  Administrative authorities   Región Forestal de la Administración Forestal del Estado-Corporación Hondureña de Desarrollo Forestal (AFE-COHDEFOR)
  Brief description   Ethnobiology
Traditional land use systems
Management plans
Cultural anthropology
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   n.a.
  Socio-economic   Agroforestry, anthropological studies/anthropology, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Land use/Land cover, management issues.
  Contact address    
Región Forestal de la Administración Forestal del Estado-Corporación
Hondureña de Desarrollo Forestal (AFE-COHDEFOR)
 Tegucigalpa M.D.C.
  Telephone   (504) 232 8334

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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