“The consequences of losing this essential ecosystem are clear,” said biologist Víctor Bocanegra. “Environmental vulnerability, food insecurity, poverty and social decomposition, which all leads to forced migration.”
No one knows exactly how much of the protected areas remain intact, but satellite images suggest the situation is critical.
Yet, investment in climate mitigation and adaption programmes such as reforestation and flood defences is falling.
Only 0.5% of the central government budget is allocated to environmental protection this year, down from 1.2% in 2010, according to analysis by economist Hugo Pino, a former finance minister and central bank governor.
“There is more deforestation than reforestation, that’s evident for everyone to see,” said Nelson Martínez, a grassroots organiser from Guapinol, a nearby community badly damaged by a tidal surge three years ago. “Unless the mangroves are saved, Guapinol will disappear too.” Because of rising sea levels and tidal surges. Between 1998 and 2017, Honduras was the second country or territory most affected by extreme weather events such as floods, storms, droughts and wildfires,