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El Salvador - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


El Salvador hosts a rich diversity of life forms considering its small territory. However, this abundance of life forms and its associations, in many cases, are threatened. For example, only 2% of the natural forest vegetation is left in the country. El Salvador has 17 distinct biological communities, classified according to their floral communities and their biogeographical features. There is a reported total of 1,477 species of vertebrates, of which 9% are mammals, 35% are birds, 7% are reptiles, 2% are amphibians and 47% are fish. There are 241 species considered threatened and 157 are in danger of being extirpated. Threatened species include: the puma, the harpy eagle, the crocodile and the iguana. There are also an estimated 7,000 native plant species. Some of the main threats to biodiversity include: overexploitation of biological resources; inadequate application of legislation; industrial and urban development; and inadequate farming practices.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The main mission of the National Biodiversity Strategy of El Salvador is to improve the quality of life of its citizens, to adequately handle the country’s biological resources in order to make them grow in quality and quantity, and to optimize their sustainable use, considering them indispensable as resources for the country’s social and economic well-being. The National Strategy has listed 4 objectives, which are: the conservation and restoration of all elements making up the country’s biological diversity (genes, species and ecosystems); the improved sustainable use of all biodiversity components; the fair and equitable participation of the Salvadorian community in access to, and benefits, arising from biodiversity; and the valorization of biodiversity components as indispensable elements for human development and Salvadorian quality of life. The focus within each of the objectives is on three main axes of action, which are: reform of the institutional framework relative to biodiversity; promotion of research related to biodiversity; and public and private investment in aspects related to biodiversity.

Implementation of the Convention

Initiatives in Protected Areas

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources agreed on, in conjunction with diverse sectors of society, instruments among which policies and strategies can be quoted to harmonize the sustainable use of biodiversity. Through an enlarged process of intersectoral consultations, the National Strategy for the Management of Natural Protected Areas and Biological Corridors was developed in 2005, in which strategic axes, priority activities and national objectives were established. At the local level, objectives and indicators were included in the management plans of Protected Areas. At this time, 11 management plans have already been formulated, another 5 are currently being updated and revised and one is in the process of being devised. The management plans are structured in programs, subprograms, objectives, targets and specific activities and monitoring indicators, and are subject to revision and updates every 5 years.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

El Salvador, to address issues related to indigenous communities, designed the project "Integrating ecosystem management in indigenous communities," that includes Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It is oriented to support a network of indigenous communities compromised with the integrated ecosystem management in the region of Central America, within the framework of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development. The project was approved in May 21, 2004, but its implementation is still pending.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme