Monday, August 11, 2014

A biodiversity treasure -- El Impossible National Park

Environmentalists from the "On the Heritage Route" project recently stopped at El Salvador's El Impossible National Park. The work of the Heritage Route project is to discover and share (by bicycle) local initiatives reconciling development and conservation of natural and cultural heritages. They document their visit in a blog post titled Last Untouched Lands Protection in El Salvador – Not Impossible for SalvaNatura!.  The national park is managed by SalvaNatura, a non-profit environmental organization in El Salvador.

From the Rainforest Alliance:

Because of it size and biological diversity, Bosque El Imposible National Park is considered the most important natural area of El Salvador. Located in the department of Ahuachapan, El Imposible contains a highly threatened dry tropical forest that forms part of the coastal mountain range Apaneca-Ilmatepec. The 9,000 acre forest ranges from 900 feet to 4,300 feet above sea level and is home to the country's most crystalline water. Bosque El Imposible's unique topography lends a splendid beauty to this refuge. More than 500 species of birds live there, including the great curassow, king vulture and turquoised-browed motmot. Ocelots are also found in Bosque El Imposible. Traders from Guatemala used to travel to El Salvador's markets through this forest, carefully leading their mules through the steep "Impossible Pass," from which the park takes its name. 
Though conservationists have managed to stop an illegal road from being built in the area and are having some success at controlling unlawful hunting and firewood gathering, the park is surrounded by coffee farms that are nibbling away at the park's borders. Some of these farms are being converted from traditional growing techniques that maintain canopy cover to more environmentally destructive farming methods that usually involve clear-cutting the forest to create sunny plantations.
This video from SalvaNatura shows some of the beauty of this natural area:

2 comments:

Lawrence M. Ladutke said...

When I went, everyone--including the Salvadorans--were almost puking from exhaustion on the switchbacks. Someone asked he how El Imposible was--I responded, "Imposible!" I took a photo of the sign at the top--"Life and Death in the Forest." The slogan should be "take only photos, leave only your rotting corpse."

Michael Johnson said...

jaaaaaa great post thanks