What are mangroves?
are an ecosystem with trees or bushes having adaptations that
allow them to survive in soils periodically flooded by tidal action
and with conditions of fluctuating salinity. They are considered
to be one of the most productive ecosystems in the world.
Within the mangrove are several animal species
(fish, crustaceans, reptiles, birds and mammals) and plants (hoja
de cangrejo, gallitos or epiphytes) whose life cycles depend either
entirely or partially on these ecosystems.
There are 4 genera and five species of mangrove
on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Guatemala. These are:
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle
and R. harrisonii).
- White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
- Buttonwood mangrove (Conocarpus erectus)
The Situation of Mangrove in Guatemala
Mangrove forest coverage on the Pacific coast has diminished
considerably due to change in land use in order to develop urban,
recreational and farming areas. Other factors are shrimp cultivation
and saltworks, and overexploitation to extract firewood and materials
for housing construction.
In 1965 23,407 ha of mangroves were reported, but
by 1996 this number had fallen to 12,000 ha. This is why Article
35 of the Forest Law (Legislative Decree N° 101-96) declares
that "the protection, conservation and restoration of national
mangrove forests is of national interest."
Why conserve mangroves?
system of life for many people living on Guatemala's Pacific coast
is mainly based on small-scale fishing in the sea and estuary
(which also includes gathering salt and freshwater crabs, conch,
oysters, and shrimp), small-scale farming, seasonal tourism, salt
extraction, consumption or commercialization of different forest
products and recently, collecting postlarval shrimp for shrimp
production. All these activities depend either directly or indirectly
on the stability of the mangrove.
In our country mangroves have traditionally
been used as sources of fuel, stakes for agricultural purposes
(pashte, tobacco), posts for fencing, tree trunks for construction,
and to a lesser degree, to produce dyes for industry.
One of the main sources of income for the
country is shrimp and other marine species.
Other services provided by mangroves
The mangrove forest is a natural barrier that protects the
coastline from erosion. It acts as a windbreak, prevents salinization
of soils and filters pollutants. It offers a means of transportation
and communication for many communities, and permits low-impact
What is "Project Mangroves"?
Project Mangroves arose from concern for the deterioration
of mangrove-associated resources on the Pacific coast of Guatemala.
This initiative is carried out by the National
Forest Institute (INAB) and co-financed by the European Union.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) provides technical assistance
and administers the three-year project, which began in 1997.
The project is designed to contribute to sustainable
management of coastal resources through the participation of local
communities in activities that are ecologically sound, economically
acceptable, socially just and set within the supporting legal
What are the objectives of Project Mangroves?
- dentify and establish sustainable techniques of using natural
resources as productive options
- Promote institutional strengthening through training
- Promote and support community organization and provide technical
assistance for their economic and social development
- Contribute to the strengthening of the legislative framework
for conservation and sustainable use of mangroves and associated
- Support and strengthen the management of existing protected
areas and promote the establishment of new areas
- Promote the creation of awareness and environmental education
about mangrove conservation
Where does Project Mangroves operate?
Along the entire Pacific
coast of Guatemala in mangrove areas and neighboring communities.
For more information:
7ª Avenida 6-80 zona 13
Guatemala 01013 Guatemala
Tel / Fax: (502) 473 5213
E-mail: [email protected]
Municipalidad de Chiquimulilla
Tel / Fax: (502) 885 0101
Oficina Sub-Regional IX-4 de INAB
3ª Avenida 3-01, Colonia Miguel Angel Asturias, zona
Tel / Fax: (502) 775 1207
Oficina Sub-Regional IX-2 de INAB
5ª Avenida 0-24, Colonia Los Naranjales, zona 4
Tel: (502) 889 3186
Oficina Sub-Regional IX-1 de INAB
5ª Avenida 2-57, Colonia Aceituno, zona 2
Tel / Fax: (502) 872 2146