Honduras

Biodiversity Survey in the little explored south side of Pico Bonito National Park (2012, 2014)

Parque Nacional Pico Bonito (PNPB), a large park located in the central portion of the Cordillera Nombre de Dios, the long mountain range paralleling the central portion of the northern coast of Honduras. It was established on 1 January 1 987 and covers an area of 564.30 square kilometres. The altitude ranges between 60 and 2,480 metres. PNPB is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, a large habitat corridor in Mesoamerica, stretching from Mexico southeastward through most of Central America connecting several national parks, national and private nature refuges and private wild lands. This initiative is launched to keep 106 critically endangered species from going extinct and protect the biodiversity of Central America.

Mountain forests worldwide and Central American cloud forests in particular remained largely undisturbed by humans for a considerably longer time than lowland forests mostly due to their limited accessibility.

An increasing demographic pressure however is currently seriously affecting this habitat, to the extent that Central American high altitude forests are high on the list of the worlds’ most threatened ecosystems (Aldrich et al. 1 997; Bruijnzeel and Hamilton 2000). As a consequence cloud forests in Central America persist mainly as small scattered fragments (Cayuela et al. 2006). A growing awareness of deforestation and recognition that natural mountain areas play an essential role in providing drinking water in Honduras led to the Cloud Forest Decree in 1 987 (Decreto legislativo 87-87) declaring all forests above an elevation of 1 800 m as protected areas. The resulting creation of National Parks was an important first step towards the protection of these unique habitats; however it offered no guarantee of effective conservation (Martin and Blackburn 2009). Many of these areas are “paper parks” with no implementation of their protected status and no forest guards to supervise human activities.These regions are threatened by illegal logging mostly for cattle pasture and coffee farms. As an example, Cusuco National Park (CNP) in North Honduras, suffered an annual deforestation rate of approximately 0.2% between 1 987 and 2000 (House et al. 2005). Probably one of the biggest remaining areas of mountain forest in Honduras is situated in Pico Bonito National Park and the steep terrain and difficult access is one of the reasons. Increased conservation efforts are required to protect this habitat, but very little information is available on the fauna and flora in these habitats. To help conservation efforts a BINCO express survey (BES) was organized to the more difficult to reach Montaña de Corozal in the southern part of Pico Bonito National Park.

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Publications

Collaboration

Instituto de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal (ICF)

Contact

Ivany Argueta (Honduras)
Merlijn Jocque (Belgium)

Craugastor sp.