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Virtual Tour - Image No. 2 -
Pico Bonito National Park and La Ceiba

Before doing the virtual tour review the materials in Step No. 1 (Pedagogical Background). Then start by clicking on points No. 11-20 to learn more about each training site; visit all or any of the points in any order to learn more. This will give you background for doing a supervised classification exercise as explained in the LAB GUIDE. Compare what you see here with what you did in the PRETEST back in Step No. 1 (Pedagogical Background).

 

Satellite image of a portion of the North Coast of Honduras where Pico Bonito National Park  is located with ten training sites noted.

Hi-resolution image version (without numbers): Hi-res Image No. 2 - Pico Bonito and La Ceiba
See also Landsat-Infrared and Topographic map #1 and Topo #2

Stop #11

View of the new La Ceiba marina/harbour with Pico Bonito in background. The ferryboat at the dock which takes passengers to Roatan twice a day.
 
Ferryboat exiting harbour past the lighthouse on the end of the breakwater.

DESCRIPTION:

Newer marina, docks, packing plants, warehouses, ferry terminus and other facilities for La Ceiba (see also laceiba.com) built to replace the old pier which was open to the sea. This small new port handles small coastal shipping, fishing operations, tourism and leisure boating, e.g. the ferryboats and dive operators serving Utila and Roatan, Guanaja, Cayos Cochinos, and other sites in and around the Bay Islands as well as other points east in La Mosquitia.

Note the breakwater to shield the port from siltation from the large river immediately to the west--Rio Cangrejal--which puts out a very large plume of sediment during flood stage. See also photos at Point #20 taken upriver during flood stage a few days after Hurricane Gama hit the region in November 2005. The river has become a mecca for white-water rafting--see also these photos by Jungle River Lodge.

Question: Can you infer from the placement of the breakwaters as well as patterns of beach sand deposition, breaker formation and so on, which way the coastal longshore current is flowing?

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Stop #12

The upper left photo shows the historic La Ceiba shipping pier from the air (April 2006). Downtown La Ceiba--note the central park (heavily forested block) with the cathedral (two white steeples) at upper left corner of the park or Plaza Central.
 
Early "banana boat" loading at the La Ceiba pier circa 1948-50. The remains of the pier as seen in 2004 - Robert Ford ostanding near old RR cair and loading boom
Old photo from Standard Fruit plantation circa 1950. Crop duster oasses over modern banana field in Valle del Aguan (prior to Hurricane Mitch.
Historic steam locomotive in Fruit Company garden/park in La Ceiba. Main train warehouses and old RR line within Standard Fruit Company concession area-circa 1998 (before Hurricane Mitch).

DESCRIPTION:

The upper left photo shows the historic La Ceiba shipping pier from the air (April 2006) and part of downtown--note the central park (heavily forested block) with the cathedral (two white steeples) at upper left corner of the park or Plaza Central (see also laceiba.com).

The next tier of photos shows the author--Robert Ford--on the pier (March 2004). It is now in severe disrepair; note the old rusted boom for loading ships. The photo to the right shows a ship loading bananas back about 1948-50 when the boom was still working. At that time and earlier in the century La Ceiba was one of the most important banana republic ports.

The port was also the terminus of the Standard Fruit Company's railroad system that served the surrounding hinterland including plantations to the west in current Cuero y Salado and in the San Francisco (Frisco) region--see Image No. 1. Note other photos showing the railroad yard in La Ceiba and an old wood-burning RR railroad engine now in a park within the old Standard Fruit company concession area. You can also see in the third row of photos a banana plantation and typical fruit company housing from the middle 1940s. The photo at middle right shows a modern banana plantation inland from La Ceiba in the Rio Aguan valley (1990s) being sprayed by a crop-duster.

The newer container-ready ports of Puerto Cortez (to the West) and Puerto Castilla (to the East) today handle the major loading/off-loading of products on the North Coast. And the former Standard Fruit Company is now part of a bigger conglommerate that includes Dole Pineapple, e.g. see Readings on the banana republics and fruit companies' history and politics.

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Stop #13

Pico Bonito as seen from across main landing strip at Goloson airport, La Ceiba Honduras. Small airplane shown on the flight line belongs to LightHawk International and was used for aerial surveys of manatees along the North coast of Honduras in April 2006.


Photo at bottom left includes Saul Flores, wildlife biologist with UNAH (National Autonomous University of Honduras) and its Museum of Natural History, and the pilot--Chuck Schroll (middle back in green shirt). Airplane on las approach over Dole pineapple fields with Pico Bonito National Park in background.

DESCRIPTION:

The Goloson International Airport serving La Ceiba (see also laceiba.com) and the central North Coast region. La Ceiba has become a major hub for the tourism, commerce and other activities on the North Coast and is now the third-largest city in the country after San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa (the capital). Note the forest and mountains rising in the background--these are part of Pico Bonito National Park.

The small airplane shown on the flight line belongs to LightHawk International and was used for aerial surveys of manatees along the North coast of Honduras in April 2006. The person standing to the right (right top photo) is Loma Linda University graduate student Daniel Gonzalez and the person to the left is Cynthia Taylor--manatee aerial survey specialist from Wildlife Trust and editor of Sirenian News (see Sirenian International)--see also this article: Winter 2006-2007: Finding the Elusive Manatees of Honduras. By Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske.

The photo at bottom left includes Saul Flores, wildlife biologist with UNAH (National Autonomous University of Honduras) and its Museum of Natural History, and the pilot--Chuck Schroll (middle back in green shirt).

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Stop #14

Area is in the middle of large Dole Pineapple fields (industrial-type agriculture).Tractor and trailer and agricultural laborers in pineapple fields.

 

Rio Bravo cutting through Dole pineapple fields as it exits canyon in Nombre de Dios mountain range. Heavily scoured river bed of the Rio Bravo just west of the airport.

 

 

 

 

 

DESCRIPTION:

Extensive pineapple fields owned by Dole near turnoff toward El Porvenir (small coastal town) along the main Ceiba/Tela highway just west of the bridge over Quebrada La Polvosa (creek). This is industrial-type agriculture--note that plants grow out of small spaces in ground covered with plastic. The layout of crops is to facilitate mechanized harvesting, fertilizing and planting.

Photo at midle row and bottom shows airplane view (on approach to the La Ceiba Airport) approaching and over-flying the Rio Bravo, a heavily scoured river-bed which cuts through the pineapple fields. The river emanates from a large canyon in the Nombre de Dios mountain range where Pico Bonito National Park is located.

Question: Can you tell the difference between this type of LULC (landuse/land cover)--a type of agriculture--from that seen at point #15 (cacao) or Point #19 (subsistence hillside agriculture)?

 

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Stop #15

Mixed agriculture field on edge of Pico Bonito National Park. Cacao (Cocoa-chocolate) tree plantation near The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
 

DESCRIPTION:

Cocoa (Cacao) plantation and other permanent (permaculture) and shifting (susbsistence) agriculture adjacent to the Pico Bonito National Park (see also Honduras.com site). In fact, just to the south around Point #16 is The Lodge at Pico Bonito, a luxury nature resort, located within the outer limits of the natural forest reserve.

Question: Can you tell the difference visually or in spectral signature between agricultural forest cover vs. natural forest cover? Do you think it makes a difference in terms of runoff, species abundance and so on?

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Stop #16:

Deep,shady canyon along stream emanating from mountains near Pico Bonito Lodge.The main building at The Lodge at Pico Bonito--a luxury ecotourism hotel.
 
The view toward the National Park from the main building at The Lodge at Pico Bonito--a luxury ecotourism hotel.

DESCRIPTION:

Near the mouth of a small stream exiting Pico Bonito National Park onto the coastal plain and the surrounding agricultural landscape. The photo at left shows some of the debris left by picknickers. The park managers and others have developed systems recently to try and reduce such impacts though it is still a problem given the closeness to a large urban area--La Ceiba. The waters of the stream are normally very clear and clean as it rushes downtream through the many boulders and waterfalls. And, in this riparian habitat zone can be found an abundance of rare and beautiful plant and animal species--all within a short walk from The Lodge at Pico Bonito (see also Honduras.com site)

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Stop #17

Close fly-by of the steepest/highest peak--Pico Bonito--in Pico Bonito National Park. A forest fire in the foothills adjacent to  Pico Bonito--in Pico Bonito National Park.
 
View ofone of highest peaks in Pico Bonito National Park from the beach and pier in La Ceiba early morning when cloud caps are just forming.

DESCRIPTION:

High on the mountain slopes and peaks of Pico Bonito National Park you enter a near inpenetrable cloud forest zone noted for an abundance of epiphytes, ferns, a multi-storied tree layer of exotic plant and animal species living on very steep slopes. In the photo at the right note the very steep slopes and exposed rock with its many ferns and other ground-hugging plants.

The middle photo shows a forest fire in the intermediate slope areas of the park in 2005, while the left photo shows close-up some of the vegetation on one of the highest peaks in the park. Note even here there was some deforestation occuring. Read more about the Illegal Logging Crisis in Honduras in the readings.

Question:

Can you tell the difference--either visually or from spectral signature--between the types of vegetation observable along the riparian zone near the edge of the park (Point #6) as compared to the higher-altitude cloud-forest vegetation here on the upper slopes and ridge-line which is over 2,000 Meters above sea-level?

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Stop #18

The bridge over the Rio Cangrejal near Las Mangas--note the deeply scoured riverbed in rock making for a great whitewater-rafting experience.Steep, rocky almost dry bed of the Rio Cangrejal during summer time.


DESCRIPTION:

At this point there is a critical bridge over the Rio Cangrejal at the small community of Las Mangas and farther downstream El Narajo and El Pino. Here the river goes through a deep gorge; the photo at the right is downstream from Las mangas where the river is also quite narrow and steep.

Questions: Can you see in the satellite imagery the transition in vegetation cover that occurs between here at Point #18 and what is seen downriver toward Point #20?

Can you pick out the narrowest part of the stream on the imagery?. From this point uphill on the narrow dirt road one enters an area of mixed susbsistence farming.

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Stop #19

Subsistence farmer's field on a steep slope  in the hills outside Pico Bonito Park along the Rio Cangrejal road.Subsistence farmer's field on a steep slope  in the hills outside Pico Bonito Park along the Rio Cangrejal road. Small side stream entering the Rio Cangrejal above Las Mangas which is ladden with silt after an intense rainstorm.
 
Hillside erosion A local farmer with a large tree he has cut from the forest for construction.

DESCRIPTION:

This is an area of subsistence hillside agriculture on steep slopes. This contributes to erosion downstream and the large sediment plume which exits the Rio Cangrejal during the wet season (note the photos at Point #20 which were taken during Hurricane Gama in November 2005).

Question: What types of agricultural cropping and related activities can you observe in the photos and imagery?

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Stop #20

Lower reach of the Rio Cangrejal as it leaves its narrow, steepest gradient along the boundary of Pico Bonito National Park.The Cangrejal River at near flood stage just about four days after Hurricane Gama hit the La Cweiba area in November 2006.


DESCRIPTION:

This site is within the narrowest part of the gorge of the Rio Cangrejal (see again Point #8); here the river's gradient is significant and little or no human impact can be observed. Only a very few river lodges and isolated individual homes are found. From this point you look upslope tp pristine rainforest and up toward the cloud forest. There are even beautiful natural waterfalls during the wet season.

Downstream from this point the river widens--see photo above at right showing the river during the dry-season 2005. The photo at the right shows the river near its most narrow point at flood stage a few days after Hurricane Gama 2005.

Question: Can you see physical evidence in the imagery of a change in gradient in the course of the river just below this point. How is the river between Point #20 and Point #28 different from the mouth near Point #11 and Point #12?

Go to the Lab Guide...to learn how to do

Supervised and Unsupervised
Classification of Imagery

Case Study No. 2:
Virtual Tour of Isla del Tigre

Good Luck!

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