Protecting Protected Areas


Please sign the petition asking the President of Nicaragua to protect protected areas;


Nicaragua has suffered another environmental disaster (and there have a been many – the above photos were taken during the fire in the Masaya Volcano National Park) with the burning of the Biological Reserve along the Rio San Juan. Much of this area has already been raised to the ground for African palm (palm oil) and large cattle ranches. 5000 hectares of tropical rainforest have disappeared together with incalculable numbers of endangered species including jaguars, tapirs, anteaters, macaws……..this reserve is also home to indigenous Rama peoples. We are asking the government to do more to protect protected areas…this is important whether or not the Indio Maiz fire is now extinguished!

There is a great deal of confusing information out there about the Indio Maiz fire and the governmental response to it. I am happy to try and make my own position on this quite clear!

First and foremost I wish to stress that I have been an avid supporter of the Sandinista government and, indeed of the Ortegas, for many years, particularly in relation to their very successful efforts to tackle rural poverty. However I do not think that means that criticism is not allowed though I think this is the approach taken by many.

I am very critical of the global response to climate change, I totally accept that countries such as Nicaragua are suffering greatly from something they have done next to nothing to create. My view is that we all have to try and respond to this threat to our future existence as best we can, within our own individual and community limits. My relevant point here is that the Nicaraguan government could certainly do more to stop deforestation, at least in the protected areas, which we now know to be one of the major causes of climate change.

I have personal evidence of this issue, originating in my experience of trying to help fight a major fire in the Masaya Volcano National Park. I myself took photos of this fire still burning after the government had announced it was out. Bear in mind also that roots of trees, especially big ones, can carry on burning for days underground after the surface fire has been extinguished. I also visited Bosawas a couple of years ago and saw first hand the destruction of the rainforest there.

In my view it is a serious issue, not only for Nicaragua but globally. And, to repeat, each of us needs to do what we can, including the Nicaraguan government.

La Mariposa takes this very seriously…we have spent most of our profit in the past years buying land to conserve – we have a very rare nature reserve in that it is not also used to produce coffee or anything else, it purely exists to help protect local water supplies as well as fast disappearing flora and fauna. In the past 10 years we have planted over 30,000 native forest trees, including several acres dedicated for local community use as firewood……..please let me know if you would like to know more!


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