Location: Department of Atlántida, northern coast of Honduras
Year joined IMFN: 2006
Area of Model Forest: 440,000 hectares
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network
MAMUCA Offices, La Masica Atlántida, Honduras
Tel: Cell 00504 33634401
Forest profile and resources
The AMF (Atlántida Model Forest, or Bosque Modelo Atlántida (BMA)) includes the entire Department of Atlántida, on the northern coast of the country. The area covers eight municipalities, within which lie two major urban centres of the Atlantic coastline, La Ceiba and Tela. The topography of this zone is highly varied: along the coastline, beaches and marshes/swampland predominate, bordered by the Caribbean Sea, whereas the interior is rougher and steeper, coinciding with the Nombre de Dios mountain range. The area is home to 13 types of natural ecosystems, with agro-fishing predominating and a tropical broadleaf forest characterized by high biodiversity of flora and fauna.
This Model Forest also contains more than 200 traditional and non-traditional harvestable wood species, including some of high commercial value such as mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), cedar (Cedrela odorata) and magnolia (Magnolia yoroconte). It also includes four protected areas and two biological corridors that represent an important part of the Meso-American Biological Corridor. With regard to sustainable forest management, there are:
- 12 active forestry groups
- Management under management plan
- Group-based certification through SmartWood FSC
- Forestry plantation certificate
- Use of non-traditional species
- Atlántida-Colon Sustainable Forestry Management Zone
The area is home to approximately 360,000 inhabitants, 95% of whom are mestizo (mixed-race), and 5% of whom belong to another ethnic group (Garifuna, Pech, Tolupanes, Miskita, Lenca, Chorti, Tawaka). The population is 70% rural, 30% urban. Fifty-one percent live in poverty, and 24% in extreme poverty. The average monthly per capita income is US $1,190, 19% of the population is illiterate and the childhood malnutrition rate is 34%. Among the primary economic activities are the following:
- Subsistence farming
- Intensive farming of African palm, pineapple, watermelon, plantain, cocoa, banana, oranges, coconut
- Forestry management (use and/or transformation)
- Large-scale/intensive livestock farming
- Artisanal fishing
The Atlantic coastal zone is of great importance for the local population, as well as for the national and international population. Local inhabitants rely on the environmental services provided by the broadleaf forest of Atlántida, such as water production and carbon binding. A percentage of the local population also depends on local forest resources to pursue economic activities such as the production of woods approved under management plans, the fabrication of non-wood artisanal products derived from the forest, and the development of local eco-tourism businesses.
Why a Model Forest?
In the department of Atlántida there are a series of organizations that drive development by the proper use of natural resources, which fits rather well with the Model Forest concept (Stakeholders' Association = Asociación de Actores). Currently there is no association bringing together not only organizations but also peasants (campesinos) responsible for managing the forest, along with farmers and educational centres. Such an association would make it possible to share human and economic resources, for better local development. In addition, the intention is to cultivate communication with other Model Forests, to compare experiences, and to apply the principles of the IMFN.
The Coalition of Central Atlántida Municipalities (Mancomunidad de Municipios del Centro de Atlántida) works to see that the populations living within its territories will have access to greater benefits, which will help reduce poverty through coalition-type management across the five municipalities. In this way, the coalition is taking on the challenge of identifying which organizations are interested in forming a part of this initiative, and is starting a process to familiarize the concept.
- Administración Forestal del Estado, Corporación Hondureña de Desarrollo Forestal (AFE-COHDEFOR). Currently, this organization is converting into a Ministry called the Forest Conservation Institute (Instituto de Conservación Forestal = ICF).
- Asociación Nacional de Productores Forestales (ANPFOR) (national forestry producers association)
- Asociación de Ganaderos y Agricultores de Atlántida (AGAA) (Atlántida livestock producers and farmers association)
- Universidad Autónoma de Honduras - Centro Universitario Regional del Litoral Atlántico (CURLA) (Atlantic Coast regional university campus)
- Mancomunidad de los Municipios del Centro de Atlántida (MAMUCA) (Central Atlántida coalition of municipalities)
- Municipalities of La Ceiba, Tela and Jutiapa
- Red de Manejo del Bosque Latífoliado Hondureño (REMBLAH) (Honduran broadleaf forest management network)
- Red Ecologista Hondureña de Desarrollo Sostenible (REHDES) (Honduran ecology network for sustainable development)
- Fundación Madera Verde (green wood foundation)
- Education and research
- Productive development (technologies, tourism, renewable energy, artisanal products, etc.)
- Management of Natural Resources (forests, soil, and water)
- Institutional promotion (intervention, project participation, decision-making)
Achievements to date
- Composition of a board of directors
- Preparation of a strategic plan
- Obtain seed money (ACDI, FAO, CUSO, RIABM)
- Analog forestry project
- Integrated management of basins, with a focus on payment for environmental services
- Participation in various international events and training sessions
- Organization of Ibero-American Model Forest Network board of directors’ meeting (November 2007)