The Mangroves of La Tirana

Thompson Reuters published a photo yesterday of La Tirana, one of the communities in the Lower Lempa region of Usulutan targeted for tourism. The short article accompanying the photo focused not on tourism, but on the impact of greenhouse gases and climate change on the region. Here’s the photo and the full text:

Mangrove trees are pictured at the small community of La Tirana, about 110 kilometres (68 miles) from San Salvador August 3, 2012. Because of its location as a thin strip of land between two oceans in a tropical zone, Central America is one of the regions most vulnerable to greenhouse gases. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that the area stands to lose $10 billion over the next four years for this reason alone. The damage is not confined to El Salvador, Central America’s smallest country, but also its neighbours. Across the region, large tracts of mangroves have also been destroyed by the shrimp and hotel industry, the cultivation of palm oil and sugarcane, as well as salt fields. According to a FAO study, Central America’s mangroves as a whole declined by 35 percent between 1980 and 2005 in terms of hectares. Honduran mangroves decreased by 56 percent, Nicaragua’s forests by 37 percent and Panama by 32 percent. Picture taken August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez

Last year, Ryan Luckey published an article in Al Jazeera English documenting the loss of these mangrove forests in La Tirana and elsewhere in El Salvador. The article quotes Dr. Ricardo Navarro from CESTA (EL Salvador Center for Applied Technology), “All along the central coast of El Salvador there is a dead zone stretching along the beach, measuring between 10 and 50 metres. The cause? Climate change.”

Voices staff took a delegation to La Tirana earlier in this year to see the dead zone – here are a couple photos:

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