Biodiversity and Carbon (stacked)
Cusuco National Park (CNP) in northern Honduras is home to 24 species that have so far only been described from within the Park boundaries and will likely go extinct before 2030 unless significant conservation management interventions are established. CNP was created in 1959 when the Honduran government placed all forests with an altitude >1800m into protected areas in an attempt to maintain clean water supplies to the country’s major cities. Despite the government’s best intentions, a lack of funding and resources means that the rules of the park are not enforced, and CNP is in urgent need of conservation attention.
A global-scale analysis of 173,000 national parks found that CNP is the 48th most irreplaceable site in the world, and it is a particularly important habitat for reptiles and amphibians. The rate of deforestation in the core zone has accelerated dramatically in the last few years as trees are illegally removed to make room for cardamom and coffee plantations. In the 15 years preceding 2019, 1.86km2 of forest was cleared, and the rate of deforestation has further increased with 2.26km2 being removed in the last three years. At these rates of loss 1883 hectares of forest will be lost over the next 25 years without additional interventions.
The rePLANET Wildife avoided loss project in CNP aims to protect 1883 hectares of remaining intact cloud forest by selling avoided loss biodiversity and carbon credits and using the funding which will be provided over a 25-year period to increase the level of patrolling in the Park and develop community projects with communities in the buffer zone of the Park. The remainder of the core zone of the Park will also be protected with this funding and will be treated as a leakage zone (any additional losses of forest in the leakage zone will be deducted from the biodiversity and carbon credits issued and the overall funding for the Park will be reduced.
The project is being run in partnership with Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF) and the various co-managers of the Park (FIPADEH, Panthera, ESAC). This project, which is under offer, is part of the Plan Vivo biodiversity credit trial system and was funded by rePLANET Wildlife to complete data collection to quantify the selected metrics during 2022. The final documentation for both carbon and biodiversity credit issuance will be completed by March 2023 and this project is under offer to a major pharmaceutical company with a view to start funding for the Park protection and community development by June 2023.