In a nutshell
Through the platform of the Yoro Model Forest, the strengthening of the capacities of local stakeholders in sustainability issues for the management of natural resources has been achieved. The Yoro Model Forest is particular and complex, due to the fact that in its territory different culturally distinct communities coexist. The Tolupan indigenous population has a considerable area of coniferous forest and continues to practice ancestral and cultural traditions in the management of natural resources. There are also Ladinos or non-indigenous people, mostly settled in rural areas, but also in urban areas, with different needs and management practices.
Improving the governance and management of natural resources, actively participating in the construction of inclusive and equitable policies for forest management, agricultural development and economic development of the inhabitants of the Yoro Model Forest has its challenges. Ensuring that changes in political structures do not limit or delay proposed actions or decrease the dynamism of alliances and the sense of ownership of the entities involved is one of the most important challenges of the Yoro Model Forest.
The Yoro Model Forest has an acceptable degree of ecological integrity, but it also faces hard threats caused by anthropogenic actions that constitute a very important challenge to guarantee the sustainability of natural resources.
The Yoro Model Forest hosts several productive land uses, 40% of the area is used for agricultural systems (basic grains, coffee, livestock), pine forest (36%), broad-leaved forest (15%), mixed forestry (7%), others (2%) and conservation areas such as two national parks, a wildlife refuge and a biological reserve, covering 20,751.15 ha. In addition, work is being done on the Yoro Biological Corridor initiative “Lluvia de Peces” that includes the 11 municipalities of the Department of Yoro.
Due to its topographical characteristics, the Yoro Model Forest area has an extensive surface and underground water network, where two of the country’s main river basins can be identified: the Aguán River basin that originates in the municipality of Yorito and the Ulúa River basin.
The Yoro Model Forest territory includes five municipalities in the Department of Yoro: Jocón, Yoro, Yorito, Sulaco and Victoria. In total 157,305 inhabitants reside in the territory, of which 85% are ladinos, and 15% are indigenous (Xicaque or Tolupanes). 78% of the population is rural and 22% urban, while 68% live in poverty and 17% live in extreme poverty.
The activities that generate the most employment are agricultural production, directly linked to basic grains (corn and beans) and coffee cultivation, mainly during harvest time, and livestock. Many of those are temporary jobs, and there is a high level of underemployment. The forestry sector, until a few years ago, was one of the main sources of employment, but recently the pine forestry suffered severe damage by the pine bark beetle attack, affecting 40,635 ha in the Yoro Model Forest, resulting in considerable losses in the economy of this sector, the loss of jobs and affecting forest management with the community forestry approach, forcing the closure of some of the main forestry industries at the regional level.
Recognized as members of the Yoro Model Forest are (among others):
- World Vision Honduras;
- National Institute of Forest Conservation, the Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF);
- Ministry of Environment (Miambiente);
- National University of Forestry Sciences (UNACIFOR);
- Municipalities of Yoro, Yorito, Sulaco, Victoria and Jocon;
- Forest industries Yodeco de Honduras and Velomato SA;
- College of Forest Professionals of Honduras (COLPROFORH);
- agroforestry organizations;
- Co-managers of protected areas;
- Friends of the Mountain of Yoro (AMY);
- Ecological Association for the Protection of Pijol Peak National Park (AECOPIJOL).
The 2008-2018 Strategic Plan was implemented through the planning axes of various strategic projects and processes involving the ICF.
- Promoting knowledge development and transfer;
- Strengthening the institutional work of the Model Forest and its members;
- Promoting the sustainable management of micro watersheds;
- Developing production and marketing systems.
Key actions in place to reach these goals:
- Generating and promoting the development of new knowledge in the Model Forest and systematization of existing knowledge;
- Expanding collaboration networks and strengthening liaison with other Model Forests and with the International and Ibero-American Model Forest networks (IMFN and IAMFN);
- Promoting the sustainable management of the resources of the forestry and protective forests;
- Facilitating access to appropriate equipment, infrastructure and productive technologies.
- Strengthened community of leaders and their participation in AVA-FLEGT processes (Voluntary Agreement of Association between the European Union and Honduras within the framework of the Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade of the European Union);
- Increased environmental awareness of the assessment of water resources and adequate management of micro basin areas (increase in declaratory processes);
- Established agroforestry systems within the Assigned National Forest Areas and strengthened marketing processes through Expo Feria.