The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, located in El Salvador and part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, safeguards significant ecosystems for species preservation. It contains many habitats, which contribute to its high diversity.
Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve
The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, located in El Salvador and part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, safeguards significant ecosystems for species preservation.
It contains many habitats, including páramo montane forests, cloud forests, conifer forests, and volcanic lava flow vegetation, which contribute to its high diversity.
Other ecosystems include the wetlands of Lake Coatepeque, Laguna Verde, and Laguna Las Ninfas. Because of current volcanic activity, these have aquatic vegetation ecosystems and aquifer replenishment areas.
The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve includes forest plantations, coffee plantations, grassland, and crops.
The nine core zones, almost 4,000 ha (9,900 acres), are allocated to conservation as natural protected areas.
Approximately 39,500 ha (97,600 acres) correspond to shade-grown coffee plantations interconnecting 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 Biosphere Reserve hosts the oldest volcano, Caldera de Coatepeque, and 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).
Flora and Fauna
Within the Biosphere Reserve are 12 species of endangered flora and 58 threatened species, and 12 endemic species of birds and other vertebrate groups. Also found here are species of fungi, bromeliads, orchids, bryophytes, agaves, and extremophile bacteria.
The human population concentrated in the reserve is mainly 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