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Honduras - Main Details

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The Central American country of Honduras has a northern coastline on the Caribbean Sea and a southern coastline on the Pacific Ocean (via the Gulf of Fonseca). Due to its geographical location which converges on tropical and subtropical ecosystems, Honduras possesses a high degree of diversity of terrestrial, marine and coastal and freshwater biological resources. This has led to the existence of endemic species concentrated in relic sites or hotspots, in environmental conditions unperturbed by anthropogenic activity, particularly in mountain areas with cloud forests rising above 1,000 metres above sea level.

In the Gulf of Fonseca region, aquaculture production in shrimp and tilapia has established Honduras as the world’s fourth largest exporter of these products after Indonesia, Bangladesh and Panama. Due to global warming, species such as snapper, sea bass and turtles no longer come to spawn in the southern coastal region. Moreover, seasonal ponds no longer exist to serve as a breeding habitat for a large number of birds. While bivalves, such as curil and casco de burro, still exist in the region they are exposed to high levels of stress from harvesting and pollution. A general decline in wildlife is also evidenced.

In the Caribbean region, coastal wetlands are negatively impacted by activities associated with African palm cultivation, including the use of agrochemicals. In the Jeannette Kawas National Park alone, at least 20% of the core area has been lost to expansion in palm cultivation. Illegal trade in green iguanas, parrots, raccoons, also exists in this area, and wildlife is concentrated in increasingly smaller areas. There are moreover less manatee in the area. Other pressures on biodiversity include unplanned tourism, land tenure and speculation and lack of enforced legislation, particularly regarding the fisheries where the use of illegal nets continues.

According to the Foundation for the Protection of the Pico Bonito National Park, there is less cultivation of teak wood nowadays. On the other hand, there has been a decline in other species of commercial value, such as mahogany, due to an increase in cultivation. Pine ecosystems in the southern sector of the Pico Bonito National Park have been impacted by overexploitation and pests. There are fewer peccaries and jagüilla in the area. The spider monkey’s population guarantees permanence. There is moreover not much hunting pressure today on the white-faced monkey and howler monkey. As for reptiles in the northern sector, there is pressure on the green iguana for consumption purposes however this situation is being monitored. In the southern sector, a study of the black jamo indicates that it is reproducing easily.

The Ethnic Community Development Organization (ODECO), located in La Ceiba on the country’s northern coast, has expressed concern about the lethal yellowing of the coconut (Cocos nucifera). Other concerns include beach loss, especially in the northern community of Bajamar, among others, resulting from natural phenomena, and structural development by land and home owners affecting marine currents with consequences on the traditional uses of marine resources. On a positive note, deforestation has declined and there is better habitat for the green iguana and deer. However, fish resources have decreased in the Cuero, San Juan and Cangrejal rivers. Regarding bird species, the pajuil and pava are no longer seen, however the populations of the parrot and parakeet have not been affected in spite of hunting pressures. Monkeys are now scarce in the Danto River basin, although white-faced monkeys and spider monkeys still exist in the area.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The main threats to biodiversity in Honduras remain inadequate planning in relation to production activities, deforestation, forest fires, illegal hunting, uncontrolled extraction of forest resources, introduction of alien species, ecosystem pollution and urban sprawl. The main natural hazards are the general cumulative effects of climate change.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Honduras adopted its first NBSAP in 2000 and is currently revising its NBSAP for the 2014-2020 period, as well as developing national targets on the basis of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets which will include indicators.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

As a result of the adoption of the Declaration on Watershed Protection, a higher level of community participation exists today with respect to activities to conserve Celaque National Park. However, efforts are still required to address the advance of migratory agriculture in coffee and basic grains by 13 communities located around Celaque National Park. In this regard, activities are being carried out to stabilize coffee production through the mapping of farms.

According to accounts from the staff at the Lancetilla Botanical Garden, there has been a relative stabilization in land use in the area through the planting of permanent crops, such as avocado, cassava, rambutan, mango, plantain and nance, by local communities.

There is a trend to promote projects for clean energy production (200 projects are in the finance portfolio).

Honduras has made progress in the conservation of protected areas. It is estimated that about 30% of the country is protected in the form of reserves (however this does not include the percentage of watershed areas under protection). Nevertheless, certain protected areas remain vulnerable.

Electronic tools, such as eBird and the Noah's Ark Project, are used to communicate, educate and raise public awareness on biodiversity.

Knowledge gained on the distribution of the endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird (the country’s only endemic bird) confirms that it is now also present in the Department of Santa Barbara located in the northwestern part of the country (it is primarily found in northeastern Honduras).

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Biodiversity has been mainstreamed in National Development and Poverty Reduction Plans.

The Marine Studies Center was created in 2006 on the island of Utila in the Caribbean. The Center has since expanded and now conducts activities on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and on regional projects on the Mesoamerican reef and the Gulf of Fonseca.

In the Gulf of Fonseca region, bilateral and trilateral alliances have been established with Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador within the framework of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD).

Honduras adopted a new Forest Law in 2013 which has significantly advanced conservation efforts.

Ninety percent of the country’s primary forests are located within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Honduras is a UN-REDD Programme Partner Country.

Progress has been made to strengthen institutional capacity by providing technical training to staff on the PAEM Strategic Action Plan on the conservation of Mesoamerican forest resources through the adaptation of agriculture to climate change. “Itzamná” is a tool that has been developed to support PAEM implementation (see: http://itzamna-mesoamerica.org/).

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

A Biological Monitoring Board (MOCAP) was created with the co-managers of protected areas on the country’s northern coast. Also, a biological monitoring system for the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve has been established.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme