Bosawás Biosphere Reserve (Nicaragua)

Bosawás Biosphere Reserve (Nicaragua)

Tue, 01/08/2019 - 19:15
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The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is located in the north of Nicaragua, next to the border with Honduras. Together with three neighboring protected areas of Honduras, it constitutes the largest protected area complex of tropical mountain moist forest north of the Amazon Basin.

Bosawás Biosphere Reserve

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve is located in the north of Nicaragua, next to the border with Honduras. The area is renowned for its rich biodiversity and numerous rare or endangered species.

At approximately 20,000 sq km (7,700 sq mi) or 2,000,000 ha (5,000,000 acres) in size, the reserve (nucleus and buffer zone) comprises about 15% of Nicaragua's total land area, making it the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere after the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Bosawás is largely unexplored.

The Isabella Mountain chain crosses the Biosphere Reserve from southwest to northwest towards the Atlantic plain. As a cluster of existing protected areas, it includes the Saslaya National Park, a complex of old volcanic peaks such as 'Cerro Saslaya,' and other peaks that reach 1,594 m (5,230 ft) above sea level.

Numerous small streams cascade from the mountains into the Río Waní, which is an upper tributary of the Río Prinzapolka. This hilly area is covered with humid tropical forests, tropical cloud forests, and pine savannas. The biodiversity is extremely rich, with many rare or endangered species.

Some of the last populations in Central America of Giant Anteater, Baird’s Tapir, Central American Spider Monkey, Jaguar, Harpy Eagle, and American Crocodile can be found here as well as some of the world’s last populations of Baird's Tapir and Central American Spider Monkey.

Together with three neighboring protected areas of Honduras - Río Patuca National Park, Tawhaka Anthropological Reserve, and Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve - Bosawás constitutes the so-called 'Heart of the Mesoamerican Biocorridor,' representing the largest protected area complex of tropical mountain moist forest north of the Amazon Basin.

This territory is also the home of the indigenous Mayangna, or Sumu, people, who have lived here for centuries. They have developed an intricate and extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna and have shaped the biological system through their cultural practices.

There are more than 130,000 inhabitants, mostly farmers, who live in the extensive agricultural frontier areas. The indigenous Mayangna and Miskitu groups live essentially from subsistence agriculture (maize, beans, rice, cacao, tuber), domestic animal raising, and traditional medicine practices in their collective territories.

Today these interlinked biological and cultural systems are under threat by a rapidly advancing agricultural frontier, increasing contamination of watercourses originating outside the reserve, illegal logging, and some trade in endangered animal and plant species.