Date Last Revised: Robert E. Ford, October 27, 2012
This module was part of an interdisciplinary capstone field-oriented course (ESSC 575) within the ESS (Earth System Science) core curriculum at Loma Linda University during the years 2004-2007. The primary learning goal is to provide students the opportunity to work jointly with faculty on integrative real world policy and basic science issues that are place-based and, that approach research questions from a sustainability science and social policy perspective. It teaches students how to use analytical tools such as GPS, ArcPAD (mobile GIS) and other human-ecological monitoring and assessment tools for doing sustainability analysis.
At the time we were working with several field partners in Honduras and Belize--local, regional, and global NGOs, government, and university entities--to do analysis and mitigation of hazards, biodiversity, and other sustainability and Earth Systems Science (ESS) problems that affect the coastal and insular zone of Northern Mesoamerica, particularly on the North Coast of Honduras, i.e. The Bay Islands, Mosquitia/Eastern Honduras, La Ceiba/North Coast region, as well as the Pacific Coast of Honduras--the Golfo de Fonseca/Southern Honduras.
Our research problem themes emphasized basic science and policy issues related to human impacts on natural systems such as reefs, estuaries, deltas, savannas, mangrove swamps, rivers, beaches, forests in protected areas such managed by the AFE-COHDEFOR (Forestry agency of Honduras). To read more see Rationalization of the Protected Areas System of Honduras: Vol. 1 Main Study which was financed by PROBAP/World Bank/UNDP/GEF Prepared by WICE, September 2002. The protected areas we targeted in this module were specifically:
Under another effort, in cooperation with the USAID/MIRA Project in Honduras we also conducted biodiversity surveys and ddid habitat characterization in two newer protected areas on the Pacific Coast--Cerro Guanacaure and La Botija. Both of these protected areas are important remnants of endangered Neotropical dry tropical forest (see Readings by Ariel Lugo, Tropical Dry Forests and Ecosystems. Another goal is help learners understand the distribution and characteristics of traditional biophysical ecosystem patterns in Honduras. See Biodiversity of Honduras and Ecosystems (see also Annex to Ecosystems Map).
In addition, we wanted to highlight issues surrounding the Human Dimensions of Global Change (HDGC) related to factors of settlement structure, livelihood patterns, agro-ecosystems, and human footprint issues such as urban sprawl, transportation, industrial agriculture, mining, river basin management, environmental degradation, population-environment interactions, and changes in common property or other governance regimes. See for instance:
The module will focus initially on two coastal zone regions for case study analysis. Click on each case below to get an introduction to that region's problems and issues:
The selected maps and images below show the population density and some other regional and local geographical relationships around the key protected areas that are our focus on the Atlantic as well as the Pacific Coast of Honduras--much more will come in the specific virtual tours of each case study.
Click on each image to see a larger version
NOTE: You can get many more maps on the region at the NASA/SIAM-SERVIR portal, at the CCAD (Central American Commission of Environment and Development) portal or at the SERNA-SINIA Mapoteca portal.
Click for larger image
Landsat Image February 1990 - Golfo of
Fonseca - Click to download (9
Where three countries meet: Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador
Map - Isla el Tigre and the Historic Port of Amapala
Source: UNOPS/UNDP: Unidad de Desarollo Turistico Municipal
Date Last Revised: Robert E. Ford, October 26, 2012