- Learning Network
Challenges · Biodiversity · Livelihoods · Water
Tropical Wet & Dry
Coffee, Livestock, Palm, Pineapple, Sugarcane
The Pico Bonito landscape (anchored by Pico Bonito National Park) is located in the northern part of Honduras. The overall climate is tropical, although conditions vary dramatically from one side of the mountain range to the other. The north is wet, steep, and humid. The south sits in a rainshadow, especially susceptible to drought with increasingly unpredictable rainfall patterns. The landscape includes a variety of other protected areas and “biological corridors” between the parks. In terms of livelihoods, the majority of people work as either farmers or cattle ranchers. Many work as smallholders, living off subsistence farming, and others farm private land owned by regional or multinational companies. The most common crops grown in the area are pineapple, sugarcane, coffee, and palm.
EcoLogic Development Fund is supporting stakeholders in the Pico Bonito Northern Honduras Landscape to scale up local-level development and resource management projects to a broader geography, uniting forces across the landscape.
After spending several years in Colombia, where I saw both stunning natural diversity and poverty, I decided to get a degree in public policy and international development. I first visited the Northern Honduras landscape as an intern with EcoLogic. There, I began learning about the challenges conservationists face trying to balance human development with environmental preservation. Now, as EcoLogic’s Senior Manager for Impact, Learning, and Innovation, my goal is to help EcoLogic apply the Collective Impact framework to help stakeholders from different sectors work towards a shared vision of conservation, production, and livelihood goals.David Kramer Senior Manager for Impact, Learning, & Innovation, EcoLogic Development Fund
Five years ago, we helped initiate the Agreement on Joint Environmental Management of the Municipality of Olanchito (referred to as MACO). This agreement between AJAASSPIB, an association of local water councils, and the municipality of Olanchito, located in the dry southern side of the landscape, ensures community-led conservation of the 16,000 acre Uchapa-Pimienta subwatershed which supplies 40,000 of Olanchito’s residents with clean water. This is a challenge as the area is located in a rain shadow and susceptible to drought. Conservation will be financed by a payment-for-ecosystem-services model similar to the smaller scale ones AJAASSPIB currently manages in the southern area of Pico Bonito. The work taking place in Olanchito is particularly unique in its rural-to-urban “idea innovation flow.” MACO has seen success with the increasing engagement of various organizations, university researchers, and town residents.
Identifying local partners is no simple task, but EcoLogic leverages a network of people to get a sense of partner organizations’ genuine commitment and ability to work with and be trusted by rural communities. EcoLogic co-designs projects that respond to the needs and priorities of local people. Activities throughout the region are coordinated to be mutually reinforcing, in order to leverage positive results and mitigate trade-offs. Quarterly meetings are managed by EcoLogic’s Honduras program officer and regional director - involving female heads of water boards, leaders of ranching associations, village councilors, and others. EcoLogic intends to serve as a “backbone organization” to encourage communities to carry out activities that will have many more participating organizations than are currently involved. Through learning exchanges and south-south collaboration, people work toward a shared vision of conservation, production, and livelihood goals in a multi-functional landscape.