Protect Nicaragua’s Most Priceless Rainforest

Nicaraguan Rainforest

Target: President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega

Goal: Strictly enforce laws against illegal logging and settling in Nicaragua’s Bosawas Biosphere Reserve

The famed Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in Nicaragua, also known as the Cloud Forest, is the largest tropical rainforest in Central America. The United Nations has declared the area a “global biological treasure” due to its immense biodiversity. The two million hectare area of rainforest is home to an estimated 150,000 insect species as well as many rare and threatened animals including jaguars, tapirs, eagles, crocodiles and spider monkeys. However, illegal loggers and landless settlers from other parts of the country are currently deforesting the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve at an alarming rate of over 30,000 hectares each year.

In 2007, the Nicaraguan government turned over the legal title of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve to the indigenous Mayangna people who have called the area home for centuries. Now, according to the Mayangna, the land has been subjected to an “invasion” of settlers and illegal loggers in the past six years. They allege that nearly 11,500 settlers have entered the area since 2009, resulting in a total loss of about 150,000 hectares of previously undisturbed rainforest. The president of Nacion Mayangna, Arisio Genaro, stated in an interview with BBC News that settlers are even destroying areas the indigenous people have designated as “conservation forest.” He went on to express concern that the future of this valuable forest is in serious jeopardy, stating that, “even the Mayangna don’t touch these forests, that’s where the animals [they] hunt reproduce. If [settlers] destroy that, they will destroy [the Mayangna].”

The government of Nicaragua has attempted to control large-scale deforestation by loggers and settlers twice in the past. Their method involved forcible and sometimes violent evictions. Despite this, however, settlers and loggers have simply returned to the rainforest and continued clear-cutting forest for cattle land and other development once the government evictions ceased. Since then, the Nicaraguan government has resolved to take a “new attempt at eviction,” and “proceed with legal action against anyone involved in land deals in Bosawas Biosphere Reserve.” While it may seem that the government is attempting to control deforestation of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, these approaches have failed to work in the past.

Urge the government of Nicaragua to place immense and immediate importance on the preservation of this priceless rainforest. Ask that they focus efforts on effectively removing settlers and loggers from the area and work to deter others from invading the forest by cracking down on illegal activities and punishing violators to the full extent of the law. In this way, the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve may be preserved for future generations.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Daniel Ortega,

The Bosawas Biosphere Reserve is one of Nicaragua’s most immense and valuable rainforests. The nearly two million-hectare area is home to countless species of plants and wildlife that depend on this habitat for survival. These species are essential to the earth’s biodiversity and provide an intrinsic value that is irreplaceable.

The Bosawas Biosphere Reserve is currently being deforested at an estimated rate of around 30,000 hectares per year. If this destruction continues at its current rate, the priceless rainforest will be entirely eradicated in less than one hundred years.

The presence of illegal loggers and settlers within the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve has led to massive loss of rainforest through clear-cutting, logging, creation of cattle farming lands and development. This, in turn, has posed a serious threat to the rainforest and the species that inhabit it.

In order to preserve this invaluable tropical rainforest, the government of Nicaragua must take action. Government evictions of settlers in the past have proved ineffective, and therefore a new approach to controlling this issue is necessary. I respectfully urge you to place the utmost importance on the preservation of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve and to strictly enforce laws that prohibit illegal loggers and settlers from entering the area. By enforcing maximum punishment for these crimes, you will help to deter loggers and settlers from returning to the rainforest. Furthermore, you will help to decrease the amount of new settlers entering the area each year, and thereby help reduce the amount of deforestation each year.

Please help to save this priceless rainforest for future generations.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: William Neuheisel via Flickr

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