In a nutshell
The northeastern region of Olancho is composed of ecosystems conserved through local stakeholder management and sustainable use. However, these ecosystems are threatened by agribusiness, energy megaprojects, mining concessions and migrants from other areas of the country, and are in urgent need of a governance model to safeguard them.
The region has three protected areas of national and international importance: The Sierra de Agalta, Montaña de Botaderos National Parks and the Pech Montaña el Carbón Anthropological and Forest Reserve. The Agalta Valley is the habitat of the emerald hummingbird and flora unique to this region of Honduras. The Orchids, a private protected area and the Municipal Reserve are in the process of in the process of being declared part of the local patrimony by the Forest Conservation Institute (ICF). This area is home to species like the teosinte (Dioon mejiae, a type of cycada) and birds such as the Cocoa Bird and the Three-wattled Bell Bird.
The Northeastern Olancho Model Forest encompasses several forest ecosystems, including coniferous or pine, oak, broadleaf, cloud, hepatic mossy, dwarf and mixed.
The main watershed bathing the Agalta Valley is the Tinto River Basin (or Negro), formed by sub- and micro-watersheds, such as the Tonjagua River, Susmay, Las Cañas, Babylon, San Martín, La Orilla, Chiquito, and Coronado. The Río Siguapa is one of the most important micro-watersheds, and as a result of its protected status the area is fully preserved and has become a wildlife refuge. It is worth mentioning that this basin supplies several municipalities in the department of Colón and, in Olancho, the municipalities of San Esteban and Gualaco.
Income-generating activities take place in the agricultural sector, mostly from traditional crops such as coffee, livestock, timber and staple grains (corn, beans, rice, sorghum) and, to a lesser extent, fruits and vegetables. Corn and bean production occur on a large scale in the valleys, but they are also a key subsistence crop for many people.
Model Forest members from grassroot organizations of the Gualaco, San Esteban and Guata municipalities include water management boards, boards of trustees, family associations, churches, coffee producers, environmental groups, cooperatives, teacher associations, cattle farmers associations, cultural groups, and transport and trade associations. Other members include NGOs, elementary and secondary schools, mayors, private forest owner associations, the national police force and the army.
Also among our partners are the ICF, the Foundation for the Development of the Department of Olancho (PROLANCHO), the National University of Agriculture, municipalities, the Hevetas Honduras Foundation, the Gualaco Water Board, and The Peregrine Fund.
The General Assembly make decisions, which defines the work plan, following proposals from the Board. The Board of the Model Forest is responsible for executing the working plan in a timely manner.
- Declare, recover and protect all the micro-watersheds that supply or may supply water to the communities.
- Establish silvopastoral systems that contribute to the recovery of degraded areas and generate renewable energy alternatives.
- Conserve the biodiversity of all protected areas so that they generate services for all living beings.
- Generate agreements with universities, NGOs and other institutions to acquire knowledge of protected areas through research.
- Promote the integral development of forest-dwelling communities through their sustainable management and use.
- Identify projects and programs to facilitate and implement integral farms as an instrument for conservation and income generation.
Key actions in place to reach these goals:
- Engaging the institutions responsible for declaring the water supplying micro-watersheds (ICF and municipalities).
- Using community talks to promote promote silvopastoral systems amongst farmers; planting trees for timber and fodder.
- Coordinating conservation and protection efforts with institutions and organizations such as municipalities, the ICF, the Special Prosecutor’s Office for the Environment, water boards, cooperatives, trusts and churches responsible for conservation activities.
- Prompting municipalities to issue ordinances focused on the protection of natural resources.
- Supporting water management boards in the conservation and protection of their watersheds.
- Supporting undergoing research, such as the ones into the Three-wattled Bell Bird and the Red-throated Caracara.
- Supporting monitoring efforts of pests and diseases that attack forests within the Model Forest territory.