Honduras National Parks Study 1

HN NP study 1
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volume 1: main study

Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X, Dr. Paul R. House, Carlos A. Cerrato, MSc., Lcdo. Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Dra. Ana Cristina Pereira 

 Financed by PROBAP/World Bank/UNDP/GEF 

Prepared by WICE 

Honduras, September, 2002 

All files for downloading:  




Volume I: Main Study, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X, Dr. Paul R. House, Carlos A. Cerrato, MSc., Lcdo. Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Dra. Ana Cristina Pereira  

Volume I: Main Study and Volume VI: Manual MICOSYS in .doc format, zipped

Volume II: Biodiversity of Honduras, Dr. Paul House, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X

Volumen II, Anexo 1, Lista de Vertebrados de Honduras y su Presencia Conocida en las Areas Protegidas Principales 

Volumen II, Anexo 2: Invertebrados Marinos, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X

Volume II, Annex 3, Continental and Estuarine Fishes of Central America, Deirdre Vreugdenhil & Carlos Cerrato  

Volumen III: Ecoturismo, Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Emelie Weitnauer, Daan Vreugdenhil, Paul R. House

Volumen IV: Especies de Preocupacion Especial, Actualizacion 2002, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volume IV: Especies de Preocupaci? Especial, formato Excel, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volumen V: Estado Legal de las Areas Protegidas de Honduras, Actualizacion 2002, Ing. Alexis S?chez, Ivonne Oviedo BSc., Dr. Paul R. House, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volume VI: Manual Micosys, Application Honduras, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X, Dr. Paul R. House

Executive Summary, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil, Dr. Paul R. House, Carlos A. Cerrato, MSc., Lcdo. Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Dra. Ana Cristina Pereira

MICOSYS  Honduras Application, Dr. Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil, Dr. Paul R. House, Ing. Victor L. Archaga. This file contains 3 models: the Minimum system, which may not be considered to provide adequate protection,  the complete system which contains all protected areas, including those that are no no longer covered with natural vegetation. It also contains the chosen "National Parks" model, which contains all areas needed to compose a rational protected areas system.



Volumen 1: Estudio Principal, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X, Dr. Paul R. House, Carlos A. Cerrato, MSc., Lcdo. Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Dra. Ana Cristina Pereira 

Volumen II: Biodiversidad de Honduras, Dr. Paul House, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X 

Volumen II, Anexo 1, Lista de Vertebrados de Honduras y su Presencia Conocida en las Areas Protegidas Principales 

Volumen II, Anexo 2: Invertebrados Marinos, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X 

Volume II, Annex 3, Continental and Estuarine Fishes of Central America, Deirdre Vreugdenhil & Carlos Cerrato

Volumen III: Ecoturismo, Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Emelie Weitnauer, Daan Vreugdenhil, Paul R. House 

Volumen IV: Especies de Preocupacion Especial, Actualizacion 2002, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volume IV: Especies de Preocupaci? Especial, formato Excel, Carlos Cerrato, MSc., Dr. Paul House., Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volumen V: Estado Legal de las Areas Protegidas de Honduras, Actualizacion 2002, Ing. Alexis S?chez, Ivonne Oviedo BSc., Dr. Paul R. House, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil

Volumen VI: Manual Micosys, Aplicaci? Honduras, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil X, Dr. Paul R. House 

Resumen Ejecutivo, Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil, Dr. Paul R. House, Carlos A. Cerrato, MSc., Lcdo. Ricardo A. Mart?ez, Dra. Ana Cristina Pereira  

MICOSYS Aplicaci? Honduras, Dr. Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil, Dr. Paul R. House, Ing. Victor L. Archaga. Este archivo tiene los 3 modelos: el Sistema M?imo, lo que es considerado deficiente para para una conservaci?  adecuado; el sistema completo que tambi? incorpora ?eas que ya no tienen vegetaci? natural y el modelo elegido "Parques Nacionales", el modelo requerido para un sistema racional.


1.      Nature conservation in honduras

1.1.       Introduction

1.2.       Biodiversity in honduras

1.3.       The current state of conservation

1.3.1.        The National System of Protected Areas of Honduras (SINAPH)

1.3.2.        Institutional Framework

1.4.       Objectives of the Study

2.      Method

2.1.       Cost-effectiveness

2.2.       Comparative weighting

2.2.1.        Computer aided weighting

2.2.2.        Evaluation parameters

2.2.3.        Protected areas system requirements

2.2.4.        Model development

2.2.5.        Cost estimates

2.3.       The planning team

2.4.       Information sources

3.      Rationalisation

3.1.       Development models

3.1.1.        Model 1: Full SINAPH

3.1.2.        Model 2: ?Minimum Conservation System?

3.1.3.        Model 3: The ?National Parks System?

3.2.       Presence/gap/viability analysis

3.2.1.        Outside of legally or proposed protected area

3.2.2.        Outside of legally but inside proposed protected areas

3.2.3.        Underrepresented in legally protected areas

3.2.4.        Represented in Legally Protected Areas

3.3.       Flora and fauna in sinaph

3.4.       Ex situ conservation

3.5.       Personnel, material requirements and costs

4.      Revision of categories

5.      Institutional considerations

5.1.       The ?national parks system? of honduras

5.1.1.        The ?National Parks System? within SINAPH

5.1.2.        The "National Parks Service" of Honduras

5.1.3.        Normation and supervision

5.2.       Private sector involvement

6.      Environmental services

6.1.       Tourism

6.1.1.        Tourism in Central America

6.1.2.        Income from Tourism

6.1.3.        Principal markets

6.1.4.        Tourism in Honduras

6.1.5.        Development strategy of the tourism sector

6.1.6.        The importance of protected areas for the economy

6.2.       Other services

6.2.1.        Donations

6.2.2.        Water

6.2.3.        Carbon sequestration

6.2.4.        Research facilitating services

6.2.5.        Bioprospection


1.             Nature conservation in honduras

1.1.       Introduction

Of all the environmental problems affecting the Earth, the loss of species is among the most dramatic because it is irreversible.  World wide, every day species are disappearing from the face of the earth.  Biodiversity loss is largely caused by habitat destruction the result of the ever-growing need of society to occupy more land to feed and shelter a continuously growing population.  Honduras too is suffering seriously from the conversion of forest into lands on which some form of production predominates.  According to the FAO, (1996) deforestation particularly seemed to have accelerated during the period 1980 ? 1990. The Honduran Ecosystems Map, AFE/COHDEFOR[1], 2002, which also covers waterbodies, shows that about 49 percent[2] of the country is now still covered with more or less natural[3] habitats. The authors of the current document have reasons to believe that deforestation has slowed down considerably over the last decade, particularly in the protected areas.  This slow-down is the result of the recognition in the country that the possession of large wild spaces of natural land is important for both the well-being of the nation as well as for its economy.


Particularly on a political level, there has been increased interest.  The last two administrations have shown an increasing interest in conservation and the new administration under President Maduros has given off clear signals that it considers conservation an important issue.  Honduras has become aware that its nature is paramount for its growing tourism industry, which now has risen to occupy the second position of foreign trade earner, with 475 thousand travellers entering the country and an income of 256 million dollars in 2001  (Annex IV).  It has become clear that nature is one of the driving forces attracting tourists, together with archaeology, gorgeous beaches, famous coral reefs and other more conventional attractions.


Honduras?s population has grown from about 4.9 million inhabitants in 1991 to about 5.8 in 1998 and the projections are 9 million in another 18 years, as the population growth rate is still close to 3 percent. As rural population growth is usually higher than growth in urban areas, rural communities in Honduras will continue feeling the need to convert natural habitat into productive lands to support their livelihoods, and land pressure on protected areas is likely to continue for at least several more decades. Furthermore, the vast majority of the people of Honduras are poor.  As a result, the Government receives little revenue in taxes and therefore it is also poor.  The needs for Government actions are enormous in the health sector, education, infrastructure, drinking water, etc. etc. On this long list of needs of the people of Honduras, conservation is just one more topic and financial contribution from the Government will always be restricted. This implies that the conservation sector must be rational in staking out its needs.  The national conservation programme of Honduras needs to be highly cost effective in its approach.  This study helps the Government of Honduras in becoming more efficient in the execution of the most important part of its pursuit for conserving its natural heritage, its in situ conservation programme.

The study has been organised to facilitate different levels of detail, depending of his/her interest:

?         VOLUME I, MAIN STUDY: Overall overview of the presentation of the study with all the conclusions and an overall literature list for the entire study. The results of the selection alternatives in the WICE analysis programme MICOSYS, are presented in 3 separate table in MSEXCEL).

?         VOLUME II, BIODIVERSITY OF HONDURAS: A biological overview of the scientific background and data of the study.  This document has extensive distribution lists of species. The marine data are presented in a separate annex in MSWORD; the vertebrates are presented in two separate data management tables in MSEXCEL.

?         VOLUME III, ECOTOURISM: Analyses the most immediate economical value of SINAPH and gives popular descriptions of the protected areas with the highest tourism opportunities.

?         VOLUME IV: SPECIES OF SPECIAL CONCERN OF HONDURAS, 2002 UPDATE: The data collected required an analysis of the species of special concern (SSP in English; EPE in Spanish).  After a first analysis in 1997 and an update in 1998, it was time to re-assess the list and benefit from considerable biological progress in the country. Recommendations are made on how to deal with these species, in and outside of the protected areas. The list is presented in a printable table in MSWORD and in a data management table in MSEXCELL.

?         VOLUME V, LEGAL STATUS OF THE PROTECTED AREAS OF SINAPH, 2002 SITUATION: The analysis requires precise knowledge and a digitised map of the protected areas.  Several official and internal documents showed different data and an exhaustive review was necessary to establish the 2002 situation.  The document is annexed with an ArcView shape file, as well as a table in MSEXCEL.

?         VOLUME VI, MANUAL OF MICOSYS: The study has been carried out with an analysis programme in Excel.  The manual provides instructions of use and scientific background information on the methodology.

?         Recommandations in the document have been visualised with text in italic letters and bundled, for the executive reader, we made an executive summery that summarises the findings and lists the recommendations of all 6 volumes.


1.2.       Biodiversity in honduras

Honduras is positioned in the northern extremes of the tropics and the interaction of geological formations with large-scale climatic expressions give rise to a surprising variety of climatic conditions for a relatively small country. These include the semi-dry Caribbean islands, wet humid tropical conditions in the North and dry tropical conditions in the South. Within this gradient, the mountains, randomly spread over the territory give rise to sharp differentiation in temperature and humidity. Differences in average temperature and average rainfall may vary respectively more than 10 degrees and more than 3000 mm over a distance of less than 20 km.  All these different conditions are expected to lead to great differentiation in species composition and the preliminary national lists of taxa are very impressive.


According to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (la Estrategia Nacional de Biodiversidad y Plan de Acci?, ENBRA, SERNA/DIBIO, 2001), the number of registered plant species has grown to 7,524 species[4], of which 170 are of limited distribution, 134 are considered endemic[5] and 35 are considered threatened.


The latest national birdlist counts 744 species[6], 59 of which are considered threatened in the country, while 5 are on the IUCN endangered species list, which includes the only nationally endemic bird, in Central America (http://Birdlist.org, 2002), the Honduran Emerald.  The list of mammals includes 231 species, of which 3 are endemic, 19 threatened, 8 in danger of getting extinct (Marineros, 2001) and 2 extinct. Of the 200 species of Reptiles registered in the country, 27 are endemic; 15 are endemic lizards Wilson, cs. (1998).  The list of amphibians counts 116 species, including 38 endemics, while in the exclusive economic zone[7] of Honduras 194 species of fish are known to occur in the Atlantic Ocean and 387 species in the Pacific Ocean (ENBRA, 2001).  As arthropods are the world?s least known taxa, some scientists speculate that the Honduras list may reach up to some 30,000 species, even though currently no more than 2500 (Cave, pers. Com.) have been registered for the country.


1.3.       The current state of conservation

1.3.1.    The National System of Protected Areas of Honduras (SINAPH)

The National System of Protected Areas in Honduras (Sistema Nacional de ?eas Protegidas en Honduras", SINAPH), was legally established in 1993 under the General Environment Law, Decree 104-93 (Ley General del Ambiente, Decreto 104-93).


Table 1 : ?Number of Areas per Category? combines gazetted as well as proposed areas. The precise numbers are not clear and vary by source. Volume V presents the lists that the authors, with assistance of the staff of DAPVS, have found, where existing with coordinates and legal or proposed status. The document lists 102 areas, while the ENBRA mentions 112.  The difference could not be accounted for, and this study assumes that the verified data of DAPVS are accurate. According to these data, the SINAPH of 102 areas (including the proposed areas), would measure over 3.3 million ha and occupy 27 % of the national territory. It currently consists of 75 legally established protected areas, while approximately 27 proposals exist for the creation of new areas at the date of publication. Of the 75 areas, 61 have legally established territory, which adds up to 2.121.326 ha, or about 18% of the national territory.


Table 2 : Number of declared and proposed areas per category



Anthropological reserve


Biological reserve


Botanical garden


Cultural monument


Ecological reserve zone


Forest reserve


Forest and Anthropological reserve


Man and Biosphere reserve


Marine national park


Marine reserve


Multiple use area


Municipal reserve


National park


Natural monument


National monument


Nature reserve


Species habitat protection area


Wildlife refuge





The largest continuous stretch of legally protected areas in Honduras consists of the Biosphere Reserve R? Platano and National Park Tawahka Asangni Biosphere Reserves and the Patuca National Park. Together they cover over 1,000,000 ha located in the sparsely populated Northeastern region of the country, where they are connected to protected areas of Nicaragua, most notably Bosawas. Together, these areas along both sides of the border form the largest single uninterrupted block of protected natural lands in Central America, probably exceeding 1,500,000 ha of legally protected lands.


1.3.2.    Institutional Framework       DAPVS

By the Forestry Law[8] of 1995, AFE-COHDEFOR is mandated with the management and administration of protected areas. Article 74, Decree 31-92 formulates: ?The State Forestry Administration, promotes the sustainable development of forested areas and their sustainable use in an efficient way, while it guards over the harmonious conservation of their soils and waters.  It is in its mandate to administer forested public lands, the protected wild land and fauna.?


Decree 74-91, Article 2 states: Transfer the functions of the Department of Wildlife of the Directorate General of Renewable Natural Resources, to the Honduran Forestry Development Corporation, which shall incorporate in its organisation a Department of Natural Areas and Wildlife to assume the normative responsibilities of management of natural resources regarding wild natural flora and fauna, as well as to the protection and management of protected natural areas and equivalent reserves.


This aforementioned department was created as the "Department for Protected Areas and Wildlife ? (DAPVS) and carries out its functions depending on available means. Those functions include the following main tasks: (i) attend to the execution of biodiversity conservation policies formulated under the mandate of the Ministry of Natural Resources; (ii) develop and elaborate management plans; (iii) promote, facilitate and watch over tourism; (iv) attend to the public; (v) facilitate environmental education in and around protected areas and; (vi) coordinate interinstitutional collaboration related to bufferzone management, etc. 


The current (early 2002) total number of staff managing protected areas from AFE-COHDEFOR and non-government organisations (NGOs) together is estimated at about 200 persons.  Some areas are entirely run by AFE-COHDEFOR; others are entirely run by an NGO and a few have mixed management; two areas are managed by municipalities.


In Honduras protected areas include the core areas - fully protected zones, (?eas nucleo) - and the bufferzones - areas under park legislation where people live and biodiversity conservation is partially promoted in a collaborative effort between the local population and the management authority.  Additionally in a regional effort among the countries of Central America, the Central American Commission for Environment and Sustainable Development (CCAD) leads a regional effort to promote the Central American Biological Corridor.       SERNA/DIBIO

The National Secretariat for Natural Resources and Environment (Secretar? de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, SERNA) is the normative institution for Natural Resources Management and Environment. Within it, the Directorate General for Biodiversity (Direcci? General de Biodiversidad, DIBIO) is the specialised institution for biodiversity conservation.  It is responsible for the coordination of biodiversity related issues among other related governmental institutions like AFE/COHDEFOR, DIGEPESCA/SAG and others. With regard to protected areas, SERNA/DIBIO has the mandate to propose legislation for declaring protected areas to the Congress of the Republic.


DIBIO also is the focal point for GEF and the mandated institution for international programmes such as the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), the Mesoamerican Reef System (SAM) initiatives of the CCAD, the Trinacional Alliance on the Golf of Honduras (TRIGOH) with Belize and Guatemala and the coordination of the Scientific Authority of CITES in Honduras.  In 2001, DIBIO finished the Study on Biodiversity of Honduras, a regional action under the auspices of the CCAD for all countries of Central America, as well as aforementioned ENBRA.       IHT

The Instituto Hondure? de Turismo (IHT) was created in 1993 under decree No. 103-93.  The principle mandate of the institution deal with execution of the national tourism policy, regulation, tourism zoning and promotion of tourism to Honduras and strengthen the private sector.  Its primary relation with management of protected areas is the importance of protected areas for the tourism sector.  It has selected priority areas for tourism and it advises DAPVS on certain protected areas visitation issues.       DIGEPESCA

Normation and regulation of fishing in Honduras are the mandate of the Directorate General of Fishing and Aquaculture (Direcci? General de Pesca y Acuacultura, DIGEPESCA) of the National Secretariat of Agriculture and Cattle Raising (Secretar? de Agricultura y Ganader?, SAG).  It has regional offices in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Trujillo, Islas de la Bah?, Puerto Lempira and San Lorenzo.  One of the main limitations of DIGEPESCA is that it is very difficult to apply the law which dates back to 1959. During the Modernisation of the State, only commercial activities were left to DIGEPESCA, while the regulation of non-commercial aquatic organisms was delegated to DAPVS.


The primary fishery resources in Honduras are the shrimp, lobster, conch, crab and scale fish.  In 1971 the fishing fleet counted only 28 ships and 17 shrimp farms. In 1997 Honduras had grown to be the largest fishing nation of Central America with 118 registered ships, 171 shrimp farms, 42 fishing ships and 10 conch fishing ships.  The commercial fishing fleet operates in the Caribbean.  The Golfo de Fonseca Honduras is the principle area for production of shrimp in Aquaculture.  For this purpose large quantities of larvae and postlarvae are caught at from the coastal waters of the estuary. Regular fishing in the Pacific Ocean only takes place on a small scale.       CONABIOH

The National Committee of Honduras on Biodiversity (Comisi? Nacional de Biodiversidad de Honduras, CONABIOH) advises the Government on decisions regarding biodiversity, such as on the ENBRA. It is composed of a group of specialists of different related fields as well as representatives of actors focussed on biodiversity and natural resources management.  It was formed on initiative from the CCAD in elaboration of the Convention of the Conservation and Protection of Natural Areas in Central America, which was ratified by Honduras in Legislative Decree 183-94 of December 1994.  The secretariat is carried out by DIBIO and it has four specialised technical committees: (1) Bioethics, (2) Biotechnology and Biosecurity, (3) Sustainable use of Biodiversity, (4) Conservation of Genetic Resources.       NGOs

AFE-COHDEFOR has delegated the management of 21 protected areas to NGOs.  Table 2, "NGOs managing Protected Areas", lists the NGOs, their headquarters and the area(s) they administer.

Table 3 : NGOs managing Protected Areas

Name and Acronym

City and Department of Headquarters

Area under management


Asociaci? de Municipios del Lago de Yojoa

Santa B?bara & Comayagua

A.U.M. Lago de Yojoa

BICA: Bay Islands Conservation Association

Roat?, Utila & Guanaja;

Islas De La Bah?

R.M. Isla de Utila

R.M. Isla de Roat?

R.M. Isla de Guanaja

FUCAGUA: Fundaci? Capiro, Calentura, Guaimoreto

Trujillo; Col?


P.N. Capiro Calentura

R.V.S. Laguna de   Guaimoreto

FUCSA: Fundaci? Cuero Y Salado

La Ceiba; Atl?tida

R.V.S. Barras de los R?s Cuero y Salado

FEHRPF: Fundaci? Ecologista H?tor Rodrigo Pastor Fasquelle

San Pedro Sula; Cort?

P.N. Cuzuco

Zona Productora de Agua Cordillera De Merend?

GEO: Grupo Ecol?ico De Olancho

Catacamas; Olancho

P.N. Patuca

FUPNAPIB: Fundaci? Parque Nacional Pico Bonito

La Ceiba; Atl?tida

P.N. Pico Bonito

PROLANSATE: Fundaci? para la Protecci? de Lancetilla, Punta Sal Y Tex?uat

Tela; Atl?tida

P.N. Jeannette Kawas - Punta Sal,

M.H.C. Triunfo De La Cruz

AMITIGRA: Fundaci? Amigos de la Tigra

Tegucigalpa; Francisco Moraz?

P.N. La Tigra

INADES: Instituto Nacional De Desarrollo Sostenible

Tegucigalpa; Francisco Moraz?, Lempira

R.V.S. El Chile

R.V.S. Guajiquiro

R.B. Montecillos

CODDEFFAGOLF: Comit?para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Flora y Fauna del Golfo de Fonseca

Tegucigalpa Y San Lorenzo; Choluteca, Valle y  Nacaome

A.M.H./E. Bah? de Chismuyo

R.V.S. Quebrachal




La Alemania

MOPAWI: Organizaci? Moskitia Pawisa

Puerto Lempira y  Tegucigalpa; Gracias A Dios

R.B. R? Pl?ano

R.B. R? Kruta

P.N. Warunta

Escuela Agr?ola Panamericana Eap

El Zamorano; Francisco Moraz?

R.B. Uyuca

Escuela  Nacional De Ciencias Forestales Esnacifor

Siguatepeque; Comayagua

R.B. and Jard? Bot?ico Lancetilla

Fundaci? Patuca

Tegucigalpa y Catacamas

P.N. Patuca

Federaci? Ind?ena Tawahka D de Honduras  FIHT, E IHCADES

Tegucigalpa y Krausirpe

R.B. Tawahka Asagni

Fundaci? Puca Opalaca


R.B. Opalaca

Aldea Global

Comayagua; Comayagua

P.N. Cerro Azul Me?bar



International NGOs active within Honduras: The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) all have a local representative in Honduras. In addition, the Smithsonian Institute is involved in research of the Cayos Cochinos.       The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

In 2001 Honduras met with an important international condition set by its ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was the development of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (Estrategia Nacional de Biodiversidad y Plan de Acci?, ENBRA). The document has been produced by the SERNA/DIBIO with financing of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


The ENBRA is a concise document, which clearly formulates the targets and actions for the coming 10 years, that are needed to conserve the biodiversity of Honduras.  Based on a participatory process, the document formulates the following strategic programmes:

?         In situ conservation;

?         Ex situ conservation;

?         Development and transfer of technology;

?         Equitative distribution of the benefits of conservation.

These programmes have been detailed in 11 themes, 24 substrategies and 110 actions ("operaciones"), ordered in a clear hierarchy[9] that can be followed as a checklist of tasks to be carried out.


The document states that the strategic programme ?in situ conservation? should achieve the following: The ecological characteristics and genetic wealth are to be adequately protected in the conservation sites and that negative impacts be reduced to the minimum; protected areas should be established with the objective to eliminate or mitigate the effects of human activities, while at the same time stimulating the participation of local communities in the process of protecting the natural areas". As one of its first actions, the ENBRA lists the ?Formulation, approval and Execution of the Strategic Plan for the efficient and sustainable management of the National Protected Areas System? (PEMS, operaci? IA1).       Previous and parallel activities

The ENBRA has been developed during a period of many coinciding conservation actions in Honduras.  Conservation was originally supported by actions of the USAID in the beginning of the 1990s, followed by important investments of various donors, among which the World Bank/UNDP/GEF and KfW/GTZ.


The involvement of the World Bank in the environment sector of Honduras started with the Environment Development Project in 1995, which, among other things, resulted in the creation of SERNA and DIBIO.  In 1998 the twin projects PAAR (IDA funding) and PROBAP (GEF funding) were initiated under joint execution by COHDEFOR, the World Bank and UNDP.  Those projects have been designed to strengthen the national biodiversity conservation efforts with a strong investment in a number of protected areas of SINAPH; the current study is a part of that effort.


The biodiversity component of the PAAR project invests in the areas of national and international significance outside of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC), while the PROBAB project focuses on areas that form part of the MBC. They also develop a mechanism of self financing and promotion of involvement of NGOs and local communities. One of the important achievements of these projects has been the production of the Ecosystems Map of Honduras. This map, gives rise to hope, since it clearly shows that considerable stretches of land are covered with a broad range of different habitats.  In fact, in the following chapters, we will show that most of Honduras?s biodiversity still survives and thanks to the ecosystems map we now know where to find it.  Almost all of it is right where we want it to be: in the Honduran Protected Areas System, SINAPH.       A Strategic plan for an efficient and sustainable management of SINAPH (PEMS)

The development of the PEMS was considered one of the most critical and urgent actions of the ENBRA, as it deals with what must be considered the heart of biodiversity conservation: The establishment and management of protected natural areas is one of the most effective ways to warrant the conservation and sustainable development of natural resources in Honduras. It is clear from the ENBRA that the primary objective of SINAPH is to durably provide conditions and in situ shelter to a representative set of the Flora and Fauna of Honduras, and to provide environmental services compatible with the first objective, such as: (1) production of high quality water ? particularly if taken from within or at the periphery of a protected area ? (2) visitation, (3) environmental education, (3) gene pool, (4) conservation of outstanding landscapes, etc. The final draft of the PEMS was presented at the end of 2001.


The PEMS too has been structured for efficient and logical execution and lists the following programmes:

?         Institutional Development of SINAPH

?         Planning and Evaluation

?         Environmental Services

?         Research

?         Communication

?         Monitoring

?         Infrastructure

The current document deals with Programme 2, Planning and evaluation, but as a result of the study, various recommendations also deal in part with several of other the other programmes.  Previous to the present study, several activities of the ENBRA had to be in place:

?         Updating of the Life Zones Map (IA11)[10]

?         Development of the ecosystems map (IA12)

?         Production of the protected areas map (IA13)

Actions (IA11) and (IA12) were available prior to the study and action (IA13) has been carried out to facilitate the current study under a separate contract.


1.4.       Objectives of the Study

A national biodiversity conservation system assumes a series of measures, which provide conditions to - humanly speaking - secure the continuity of the maximum number of species in a given country. The question is ?What is a realistic scenario?? With a proposed SINAPH covering 27 percent of the national territory, a Honduran population approaching 9,000,000 inhabitants in by the year 2020 (Wilson et al.), and one of the poorest populations in the region, the country needs to become efficient in its biodiversity conservation efforts.  While conservationists would like to conserve all species native to the country, the pressures of society render such wishes difficult to achieve.  There is not enough land available to host all native species, nor are there sufficient funds to properly manage them. The challenge is to strike a broadly accepted balance between the "maximum number of species" and the broad range of other aspirations of the society as a whole. To make such analysis, one needs to select areas on the bases of sound scientific criteria.  In pursuit of such balance, this study has been formulated to fulfil the following objectives:

?         Identify on the basis of scientific biological criteria:

?         The protected areas in the of national and international significance for biodiversity protection;

?         Important conservation gaps in SINAPH and according to need propose the creation of (a) new protected area(s);

?         Areas with other management priorities to be managed by more appropriate organisations like local governments or private institutions;

?         Propose an integrated rational, cost-effective and affordable in situ biodiversity conservation system of national significance;

?         Propose areas to be eligible for financing by the Protected Areas Trust (FAP);

?         Prepare cost estimates of the rationalised biodiversity conservation system;

?         Review and propose ? according to need ? to re-categorise the protected areas of the proposed system;

?         Identify the primary environmental services opportunities of the proposed system, with emphasis on tourism;

?         Present a solid science-based document for fundraising among international donors.

[1] Spanish title: ?Mapa de Ecosistemas Vegetales de Honduras? The mapping team included Mej?, House, Meyrat, V?quez, Vreugdenhil and Cerrato.  The current authors don?t agree to this title, as ecosystems by definition include all organisms, physical conditions and natural processes. Consequently ?ecosystemas vegetales" don?t exist.  We shall only refer to the terminology agreed in the ?Ecosystem Map of Central America project?.

[2] This map was partially based on 1994-1995 images of COHDEFOR, the current cover is probably somewhat less; we come back to that later.

[3] The terms natural and modified natural are defined in the annex of Vreugdenhil et. al. (2002, in press). In the Honduras map, rather intensely grazed pine forests are mapped, which are on the borderline between natural habitat and production lands. Depending on the interpretation, the actual natural habitat cover may be somewhat lower.

[4] This fabulous registration is the result of decades of the tireless systematic pioneering work of one of the foremost plant taxonomists in all of Central America, Dr. Cirrilo Nelson, who, on his own initiative and with hardly any external funding produced the longest official national plant list of any of the countries of Central America.

[5] In the course of this document we will slightly revise these figures to reflect the latest state of developments.

[6] Fr references see Annex I, which lists 737 species.

[7] (1)The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part (The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982), under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.

(2) In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has: sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the sea-bed and of the sea-bed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds. Source:



[8] El Ley 31-92 art. 74: Competencia de AFE-COHDEFOR administraci? de Areas Protegidas.

[9] They are coded according to their hierarchical levels ?Line item? with a roman number, ?Theme? Roman letter in uppercase and ?Operaci?? in Arabic number.


[10] As the ecosystems map not only considers many ecological data and floristic data but also climatic elements, the ecosystems map is much more detailed than the Life Zones methodology.  Therefore, action (IA11) may be considered to be executed.

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