First anniversary of Biosphere Reserve coincides with the planting of 10,000 seedling trees on Ometepe Island

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has launched a new campaign on Ometepe to coincide with the first anniversary of the volcanic island being declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. FFI has been working on the freshwater island in Lake Nicaragua since 2005, building capacity for conservation and protected area management, and supported the Nicaraguan government to nominate the island and its fringing waters as the country’s third Biosphere Reserve.

To mark the anniversary, FFI and local partner Fundacion Entre Volcanes have launched a campaign called Ometepe te quiero verde (Ometepe I love/want you green). At the launch event last weekend, an initiative to work with local farmers and communities planting the seedlings of 10,000 trees on the island commenced.

FFI is working with smallholders to promote environmentally friendly farming practices, develop land-use plans for smallholdings in 20 pilot farms, and encouraging landowners to engage in reforestation and forest plantation schemes, through a ‘finca verde’ (green farm) scheme.

Through this initiative, supported by BAT Central America and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, FFI is also working to establish wildlife corridors on the island; in seven corridors of contiguous forest from the lake shore up the flanks of Ometepe’s Maderas Volcano.

The aim of Ometepe te quiero verde is to generate awareness amongst islanders of the importance of proper land use planning, tree planting and the establishment of wildlife corridors outside core protected areas, for both conservation of biodiversity and sustainable resource use.

FFI is using this occasion to reinvigorate interest and commitment amongst locals for the Biosphere Reserve, with plans to continue working with local communities to realise their vision and shape the future of Ometepe.