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Rio Platano

Biosphere Reserve - Reserva de la Biosfera

Biosphere Reserve


Rio Platano is one of Honduras' earliest protected areas; declared a biosphere reserve in 1980, and declared a UNESCO World Patrimony site in 1982. Currently the largest park in Honduras with an area of 525,100 hectares.


Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is located in the region of the Mosquitia, distributed between the departments of Olancho, Columbus and Gracias Adios. Its geographic extension borders the coordinates 15m 15' & 15m 57' North latitude, and between the coordinates 84m 35' and 85m 30' latitude West. The total area of the reserve covers an approximated extension with 525,100 hectares, of which 318,200 that corresponds to the zone nucleus (or area of multiple use).


Isolation did not protect the reserve, the damage caused to its main components has been severe. We can observe an alarming human penetration in its zone nucleus, which already has caused considerable deterioration of its resources, until approximately 35 km within this zone.


Two areas are characteristic within the reserve, the planar area and the mountainous area. The first is characterized by gentle slopes, marshy zones and susceptible plains or savannahs to the inudaciones, which would cover from Barra de Ibans to the Patuca, along the Platano River, to the town of the Marias, and along the Paulaya River. Within the mountainous area, on the other hand, the topography of hills and mountains with strong slopes predominates. Mountains in the Plantano area consisit of: Baltimore top (1.083 msnm), Hill Viewpoint (1.200 msnm), Hill Antelope (1.075 msnm) and Mountain End Stone (1.326 msnm).


The average of annual rain could exceed 2.500 mm in the months of February & March. April, May and September are less rainy, and the rainiest time would be July & December, with more than 400 mm of precipitation. The registered annual average temperature during the same period was of 26.6m centigrade.


The diversity of ecosystems is another one of the characteristics of this biosphere, excelling in, amongst others, coastal beaches and lagoons, marshes, forests of manglar, rivers and brooks, coastal savannahs of pine, ademas of the forests of pine (located in the South part of the reserve), & the humid tropical forests. Wildlife consists of the green iguana, marine and sea turtles, white tail deer, and red deer. Invertebre consist mostly of cuyamel, snail of the sea, & lobsters.


In the last decade, the process of immigration towards the reserve has been increased by farmers and latino landowners, accelerating the degradation process, mostly in the South part. In the North region of the reserve has the greater presence of ethnic groups (with majority of Misquito communities and garífunas), of which the group of the Misquitos turns out to be most predominant with more than 5.000 inhabitants. That is followed by more than 600 latinos, 550 garífunas, and 110 Pech.

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"The tropical rain forests are a telling example.
Once cut down, they rarely recover.
Rainfall drops, deserts spread, the climate warms."
James Lovelock

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