Country Listing

Honduras Table of Contents



The 1980s saw a heightened awareness and concern over ecological issues. Even though Honduras is not overpopulated, its land resources have been overexploited, and there are numerous reasons for concern regarding deforestation and the prevalence of unsustainable agricultural practices. Enforcement of the few regulations already in effect is uneven.

Honduras has two major national parks. One is the Tigra Cloud Forest Park near Tegucigalpa. The other is the Copán National Park near the border with Guatemala, which houses the Mayan ruins. Honduras also has established the Río Plátano Reserve. Furthermore, the government has attempted to encourage ecotourism in the Islas de la Bahía, where biologically rich coral reefs are located.

As a consequence of the expansion of environmental consciousness, the Honduran Association of Ecology (Asociación Hondureña de la Ecología--AHE) was founded in the 1980s. Following the example set in the foundation of the AHE, many other groups formed with the stated purpose of promoting ecologically sound policies. Unfortunately, in 1993 many sources of international funding dried up following the discovery of corruption in a number of Honduran ecological groups. Despite the continued presence of many environmental problems, ecologists are encouraged by the increasing environmental consciousness among all sectors of the population. The fact that environmental concerns are part of the policies advocated by peasant organizations, labor unions, and other interest groups is a sign that the ecological movement has come to maturity.

Honduran society provides examples of the most severe problems faced by developing nations. Yet within that same society, the unique relationship between social and political forces provides potential for progress in alleviating the country's problems.

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The body of literature available on Honduran society and environment has never been comprehensive. Although somewhat dated, Richard N. Adams's Cultural Surveys of Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras remains a good source. Population and Urban Trends in Central America and Panama, by Robert Fox and Jerrold Huguet, is also a basic text. More recent publications such as the report issued by the United States Agency for International Development, Latin America and the Caribbean, are also helpful. The Human Development Report published by the United Nations is an invaluable statistical look at all major indicators.

Three texts providing solid information regarding economic trends, population pressures, and their effect on land tenure and use of resources are The War of the Dispossessed: Honduras and El Salvador, 1969, by Thomas P. Anderson; Land, Power, and Poverty: Agrarian Transformation and Political Conflict in Central America, by Charles Brockett; and Scarcity and Survival in Central America: Ecological Origins of the Soccer War, by William H. Durham. Understanding Central America, by John Booth and Thomas Walker, also provides some interesting perspective and statistics.

Little recent research has been done on non-Hispanic groups living in Honduras. Old standard sources remain, such as Mary W. Helm's Asang: Adaptations to Culture Contact in a Miskito Community. Studies on the Black Carib in Belize and Guatemala shed light on those groups living in Honduras. Of interest are Women and the Ancestors: Black Carib Kinship and Ritual, by Virginia Kerns, and Black Carib Household Structures: A Study of Migration and Modernization, by Nancie L. Solien Gonzalez. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1993