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THE IMPACT OF HUMAN PRACTICES ON FOREST REMNANTS: PEOPLE AND CONSERVATION IN A SMALL NATURE RESERVE IN WESTERN NICARAGUA

by Barahona, Tupac A.

Abstract (Summary)
Given the practical difficulties to manage large protected areas in poor countries, the present study addresses the possibility of preserving small forest remnants by involving local actors in their management. The study area embodies the highlands of the volcanic complex Chonco-San Cristóbal-Casitas in western Nicaragua, where a Nature Reserve was established in 1983 with the aim of protecting the remaining patches of deciduous dry forest. The methodology included aerial photography interpretation to evaluate changes in forest cover during the past four decades, interviews of the forest holders to how they value and manage the forest, and forest samples on their properties to assess the state of species diversity. The findings revealed a clear trend of forest reduction and fragmentation over the past decades, and a significant alteration of tree species composition in the remaining forest stands due to human-caused fires and selective logging. When these disturbances are moderate and infrequent, they prevent the best competitors from dominating the other tree species, thereby enhancing species diversity in the forests. A careful exploitation of woods might hence contribute to their preservation. A series of recommendations are put forward to motivate peasants and coffee farmers to manage species diversity, since they are the two main forest owners in the Nature Reserve.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:forest management nature reserve dry deciduous western nicaragua people and conservation

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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