The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve contains both the oldest volcano in the Central Volcanic Chain, Caldera de Coatepeque as well as a more recent formation, Izalco, a stratovolcano. The reserve hosts important ecosystems for conservation of species and has highly diverse habitats.
Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve
The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, located withing the Central Volcanic Chain of El Salvador, hosts important ecosystems for conservation and species and has highly diverse habitats, inter alia the Paramo Montane Forests, Cloud Forests, vegetation on volcanic lava flow and conifer forests.
The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve contains 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).
The reserve hosts important ecosystems for conservation of species and has highly diverse habitats: Paramo Montane Forests, cloud forests, vegetation on volcanic lava flow and conifer forests.
The Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve includes forest plantations, coffee plantations, grassland and crops. 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, bromeliaeds, orchids, briophytes, agaves and extermophile bacteria.
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.
Almost 4,000 ha (9,900 acres) are allocated to conservation as natural protected areas (the 9 core zones), and 39,500 ha (97,600 acres) correspond to shade-grown coffee plantations that interconnect the core zones to enable a 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