Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve (El Salvador)

Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve (El Salvador)

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 11:26
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The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, located in El Salvador within the Central America Volcanic Arc, protects important ecosystems for species conservation. It hosts highly diverse habitats, such as páramo montane forests, cloud forests, conifer forests, and volcanic lava flow vegetation.

Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve

The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, located in El Salvador within the Central America Volcanic Arc, protects important ecosystems for species conservation. It hosts highly diverse habitats, such as páramo montane forests, cloud forests, conifer forests, and volcanic lava flow vegetation.

Other ecosystems include the wetlands of Lake Coatepeque, Laguna Verde, and Laguna Las Ninfas. All of these have aquatic vegetation ecosystems and aquifer replenishment areas because of current volcanic activity.

The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve includes forest plantations, coffee plantations, grassland, and crops.

The Biosphere Reserve hosts both the oldest volcano, Caldera de Coatepeque, as well as a more recent formation, Izalco. Izalco is a stratovolcano on the side of the Santa Ana Volcano, also known as Illamatepec (sometimes spelled Llamatepec or Lamatepec).

Within the Biosphere Reserve, there are 12 species of endangered flora and 58 threatened species as well as 12 endemic species of birds and other vertebrate groups. Also found here are species of fungi, bromeliads, orchids, bryophytes, agaves, and extremophile bacteria.

Almost 4,000 ha (9,900 acres) are allocated to conservation as natural protected areas (the 9 core zones). Approximately 39,500 ha (97,600 acres) correspond to shade-grown coffee plantations that interconnect the core zones. These plantations enable the flow of flora and fauna and are thus a fundamental part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC).

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.

Human activities within the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve include:

  • certified traditional, gourmet, and organic coffee-growing
  • research and biodiversity monitoring in the core zones
  • responsible tourism linked to organic crop-growing
  • retrieving and promoting indigenous culture
  • traditional crop-growing of basic grains, sugar-cane production and fisheries
  • crafts, pottery, furniture-making, wood-carving
  • tourist-related services