Bosawas Biosphere, Nicaragua
- Bosawas Biosphere, Nicaragua Photo
- ©John Polisar
Located in north-central Nicaragua, the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve covers nearly 7 percent of the country's land area. The reserve is a keystone in protecting the Meso-American Biological Corridor, which runs the length of Central America. Harpy eagles, jaguars, pumas, tapirs, macaws, and some 150,000 insect species inhabit this region. About 21,000 indigenous Mayangna and Miskito people live along the rivers that cut through the jungles of Bosawas.
- Bosawas takes its name from three significant geological features in the region: the Bocay River, Saslaya Mountain, and the Waspuk River.
- More than 270 plant species are found in the lush Mosquitian forest, including the commercially valuable Spanish cedar and mahogany.
Poverty has given rise to the main conservation challenges, which include over-hunting of wildlife, habitat fragmentation from unsustainable land-clearing for agriculture, and human-wildlife conflict.
WCS is working with the indigenous associations and government agencies
active in Bosawás to preserve the landscape’s tropical forests and the
wildlife that depends on them. We conduct surveys of birds, plants,
reptiles, and amphibians, evaluate jaguar populations and their prey
base, monitor wintering migratory birds, and study the impacts of
subsistence hunting on wild game populations.
Much of our work focuses on partnerships with local communities. We have
provided environmental education materials to primary and secondary
schools. We are teaching indigenous people skills in forest inventory
methods in order to train them as parabiologists, and facilitating
patrols to limit incursions of hunters from outside the territories. We
are also working to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, such as jaguar
attacks on livestock, by helping to build corral enclosures
for domestic pigs and cattle in the park's buffer zone in return for conservation commitments. Additionally, we provide guidance to ranchers on managing cattle herds in a way that minimizes forest clearing.