The remoteness of Bosawas has prevented the collection of much biological data, but the area is known to support populations of threatened Central American animals, such as puma, tapir, and jaguar. Two-hundred fifteen known bird species are found in Bosawas, including many North American migrants such as wood thrushes, cerulean warblers, and Canada warblers. Endangered birds such as the harpy eagle and green macaw are found here year round. Over 270 plant species are found in the lush Mosquitian forest, including the commercially valuable Spanish cedar and mahogany.
Bosawas is threatened by much of the same stresses experienced throughout the country. Rapid and unsustainable land clearing for agriculture results in deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, and other threats to the area’s natural resources. Conflicts over land tenure and control of natural resources predominate in the area.
A Strategy of Success
The Parks in Peril (PiP) project in Bosawas is defined by working with the local indigenous communities and organizations to achieve conservation success. Because land tenure underlies many other resource issues in the area, PiP has focused on titling of indigenous territories. Since 1993, The Nature Conservancy has supported the creation of six government-recognized indigenous territories in the heart of Bosawas. This demarcation has dramatically slowed the advance of the agricultural frontier. In 2003, the Nicaraguan parliament passed an indigenous territories titling law, based on TNC past and current achievements. This law marked the first time in Central America that a considerable amount of land was granted to minority groups: 21,000 people in 41 communities were given title to 7 percent of Nicaragua’s territory.
The local communities of Bosawas have requested PiP’s help in establishing community-based monitoring programs in order for local groups to eventually evaluate and regulate the threats to the area’s natural resources. PiP and the indigenous communities are working with the St. Louis Zoo in the U.S. to develop these programs. Local forest guards are being trained to monitor mammal populations to control local hunting activities.
CEDAPRODE is working to promote sustainable activities in cacao and rice production. To make up for the loss of traditional seeds from Hurricane Mitch, many families have had to clear more forest to plant more crops. CEDAPRODE is working to apply agroecological models used in other parts of the country that plant seeds adapted to local environmental conditions. These methods can reduce soil erosion and the need for agrochemical pest control. Additionally, Conservation Area Planning (CAP) workshops are being held with participation by six indigenous community leaders, local scientists, and government representatives to discuss the main threats to cultural and natural resource conservation targets.
Read more about Bosawas...
The Nature Conservancy in Bosawas
Online Field Guide to Bosawas
Read more about projects in Nicaragua...
Nicaragua Partner Organizations
The Nature Conservancy in Nicaragua