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Rain Forest
 

The reason behind the wealth of biological exuberance present in this region is due to its’ remoteness. No highways extend from the interior of Honduras or Nicaragua into La Mosquitia. Even arriving to La Mosquitia can be an adventure in itself. Simply put, the remote nature of this location combined with the rugged geography to its’ west has been effective at keeping out lots of people! Another reason for the biodiversity represented here is variety of habitats and high amounts of annual rainfall received.

Recently a number studies and investigations have been initiated within the Honduran Mosquitia focusing on anthropology, archaeology, botany, and zoology. It is amazing that in our day and age of information and televised celebration of biological hot-spots La Mosquitia has received little attention.

Benefits of Saving the Rain Forest

Attempting to express all of the benefits gained from protecting the rainforest is a topic easily beyond the scope of this web site. Nonetheless, rainforests world-wide are known as one of humanity's greatest assets. These regions cover only 2% of the earth's surface. Despite this they are home to nearly 50% of all known life forms and support more species of life than any other terrestrial habitat on earth. Rainforest are simply one of the richest, oldest, most productive and most complex systems on our planet.

Rainforests play a vital role in influencing global weather systems. Destroying them is known to dramatically alter hydrological cycles. Droughts, flooding and soil erosion are all common symptoms brought on by the destruction of rainforest. Removing forests that have been a part of the earth for millennia not only changes the earth's surface, but alters wind and ocean current patterns, and changes rainfall distribution. Although the land is bountiful unmanaged use cannot sustain the growing population. Projects promoting sustainable harvest, renewable crops, eco tourism, and managed forestry practices are in the beginning stages of formation.

Rainforests are the womb of life. At least 80% of the world's diet and 25% of all western pharmaceuticals originated from tropical rainforest. It is believed that the answers to our struggles with major diseases of this century lay waiting to be unlocked in the depths of the ancient forest.

The People of the Honduran Mosquitia

Amidst the environmental diversity present in the Mosquito coast of Honduras are the Garifauna, Miskito, Paya (Pech), and Sumu (Sumo) Indians. No where else in Central America does such a diverse range of indigenous people exist. Interestingly many of these people continue to carry out their day to day lives just as they did hundreds of years ago.

One of goals of the Norma I Love Foundation is to protect the biodiversity of La Mosquitia by helping local inhabitants establish sustainable harvesting practices. The traditional agricultural practices currently used by these people are centuries old. Unfortunately, these traditional practices cannot fully satisfy the ever growing demand for nutrition and quickly exhaust the quality of the soil. Implementing sound agricultural practices that promote sustainable harvest and promoting economic incentives such as eco-tourism are likely to provide both the people and the environment much needed stability.

The people of La Mosquitia are in need of help as their traditional means of existence have clashed with demands and influences from the outside world. Instead of preserving their environmental treasures, many of the region’s inhabitants are now forced to exploit its’ natural resources. Intense harvesting of lobsters for American seafood markets, illegal poaching of wild animals for the pet trade, cutting down rainforest to clear grazing land for cattle, and unsustainable harvest of timber have all taken a toll. This toll is paid for at the expense of the environment and the culture of the people. A fairly recent factor in the history of La Mosquitia was the Iran-Contra affair. This bloody incident played out between Honduran Contras and Nicaraguan Sandanistas during the early 1980s. The conflict was intense and forever changed the lives of thousands.

A Little Village Called Mocoron

There is a community in La Mosquitia called Mocorón, which serves as the headquarters for the Norma I Love Foundation. Mocorón is situated along the northern banks of the Rio Mocorón and approximately 40 miles south of Puerto Lempira. During the early 1980s, several thousand Nicaraguan refugees resided here. Today there is little visible testament to the war and the refugees other than disturbed areas of land that are roamed by cattle. .

When the war ended most of the refugees left the area or returned to their homes in Nicaragua. However, there were still several who since had their lives uprooted from the experience, have found a home in Mocorón. For many families, customs, and traditions were shattered leaving a new generation of indigenous inhabitants faced with a new and totally different struggle. Customs from the past are now having to adapt to those of the modern world. This transition is one that leaves the best interest of the indigenous population in a precarious balance

No permanent source of electricity or purified water has been established in Mocorón. Water is most often carried or hauled over long distances from the river. There are some private wells that hav e been recently installed, but most are in need of repair. Having clean water is an important priority for the community. Unclean water is responsible for many of the health problems faced by people worldwide.

The population size of Mocoron is about 1000 with most of the inhabitants being children. Life here hangs in a delicate balance. A single failed crop can bring devastating results to the community’s food supply, a strong hurricane can destroy homes, and non purified water can spread disease. These people are simply striving to achieve the basic needs in life: shelter, clean water, nutritious food, and an education for their children.

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