Crocodiles, corals, crabs, turtles, numerous types of mangroves… In the northwest of El Salvador, a few kilometers near the border with Guatemala, the coast of Barra de Santiago and its mangroves hide a treasure of biodiversity of fauna and flora.

Although it is battling many threats, for a decade now, local groups of fishermen and women have been mobilizing to protect this tropical ecosystem.

The mangroves also act as a barrier against storms and hurricanes and help limit the rise in water levels caused by climate change. Dialogo Chino :

“Despite the damage caused to the country by Hurricane Julia, [août] Heavy rains in the Barra de Santiago mangrove forest caused only moderate flooding in 2022.”

Creating a job

Over the past thirty years, urbanization, the development of sugarcane cultivation and the growing demand for timber have significantly reduced the Barra de Santiago mangroves, which are part of the Ramsar International Convention for the Protection of Wetlands of International Importance.

SO “Since 2012, several associations have begun to restore the ecosystem and protect biodiversity, creating new jobs, in particular in the cultivation of crab.”. Employment development is of no small importance for local communities in a country suffering from strong emigration, especially youth, mainly to the United States.

The Association of Women for the Development of Barra de Santiago (Ambas) and other local NGOs worked to raise the awareness of local communities about the importance of the ecosystem. New canals were built and seedlings planted. “The goal is to restore 42 hectares of forest by 2024.” Other projects have also been launched, such as strengthening artisanal fishing and reducing water pollution.

“Although the results are still modest, rated Dialogo Chino, the success of the work of local associations provides a global model for the possibilities of restoring this type of ecosystem.”