Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
Lake Managua, ocelots, tapirs, howler monkeys, types of frogs
Environmental issues were given little attention in Nicaragua before the 1980s. Deforestation is the major concern, but there are also serious problems of soil erosion and water pollution. Pollution has destroyed the fishing industry in Lake Managua and elsewhere. Access to clean water is a special problem in the Managua area, where many people have no sanitation, and sewage treatment is inadequate for the large population.
The Nicaraguan Institute for Natural Resources and Environment (IRENA) was created in the 1980s and established Bosawas, a nature preserve of about 14,000 sq km (about 5,400 sq mi) in northern Nicaragua. Species protected there include jaguars, tapirs, howler monkeys, and canopy orchids. In the 1990s another protected area was established in southeast Nicaragua. The Indio-Maiz biological reserve, between the San Juan and Punta Gorda rivers, covers about 4,500 sq km (about 1,700 sq mi) and is home to jaguars, ocelots, rare birds, and many types of frogs, butterflies, and orchids. Together, these areas give Nicaragua the largest forest reserves in Central America. Despite these efforts, Nicaraguan rain forests continued to be cut at an accelerating rate in the 1990s.
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