Wilderness areas are under attack, especially in places like Nicaragua. Land is cheap, and laws to prevent forest destruction often don't get enforced. When land is scenic, such as at Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, wilderness might not stay wild long, regardless of laws and regulations. Cutting trees, hunting wildlife, clearing land, and building houses are all illegal here, but many of these activities occur anyway, because vigilance and enforcement is insufficient.
The dream of many US citizens is to own a little corner of paradise, and places like Laguna de Apoyo appeal to lots of them. Although many honest real estate agents can be found in Nicaragua, Laguna de Apoyo is overwhelmed by unscrupulous agents, investors and speculators, often advertising "ready to build" for lots where construction is not permitted. These people entice foreigners to drop their money on property with a great view, a gorgeous, warm lake before it, basically by fooling them. At Estacion Biologica Laguna de Apoyo, we often receive visitors who have bought land in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve under deception, and these people are always regretful of their purchases.
It is a shame to watch people discard their lifetime savings on something too good to be true, which, alas, is not true.
What is sadder than watching drama unfold in the lives of many, unwitting US citizens who experience buyer regret, however, is the terrible implications on the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Almost daily, we witness the unnecessary and illegal destruction of natural areas around us. Rather than just sit and watch helplessly as this wild area vanishes, we work closely with the Nicaraguan Police, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MARENA), the local municipality of Catarina, environmentalist organizations and the local community to keep Laguna de Apoyo wild. Among the actions we take to save our beautiful surroundings is to plant trees and shepherd them on their way to regeneration of good forest.
|Lots of trees were donated to the Laguna de Apoyo Reforestation Project by CARUNA, and Movimiento Ambientalista Guardabarranco provided strategic support and lots of energy in planting them. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
|Nicaraguan volunteers carrying saplings of native trees converge on the reforestation site in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
|Trees, trees, and more trees. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
|Enthusiastic participation of Nicaraguan volunteers made our tree-planting day a tremendous success. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
|Stakes made from branches made excellent implements for digging small holes to place saplings. Thanks to Elmer Nicaragua for devoting extra time from his day for making these stakes. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
|While some hammed it up for a photo opportunity, others moved large rocks to block the former road to vehicular traffic. Photo by Jeffrey Munguia.|
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