Poverty is one of the greatest drivers of deforestation and ecosystem degradation. As one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti, Nicaragua has limited resources to conserve and protect its important and fragile ecosystems.
Compared to the United States’ average GDP per capita (ppp) of $41,890, the Latin American average is a mere $8,417, with Nicaragua’s GDP per capita falling far below that average at $3,674. The 40% of the Nicaraguan population living and working in rural areas typically earns far less than those in urban areas, and their occupational opportunities are limited to agriculture, fishing, and other forms of resource extraction.
In Nicaragua, 70% of the population lives within the Pacific slope, an area that contains only 5% of the country’s remaining forested areas. While population growth contributed significantly to the over-extraction of natural resources, it is now up to Nicaragua’s many citizens to restore their degraded ecosystems. Efforts have been made—education in the fields of science and the environment are a required component of the Nicaraguan curriculum. But frequently teachers do not have the resources to teach properly on these subjects, and amongst “larger” national concerns, Nicaraguan education sits on the backburner. By educating communities about the direct and indirect benefits of a healthy ecosystem, involving communities directly in the restoration planning process, and creating much-needed jobs, Paso Pacífico hopes to restore ecosystems while empowering communities with the tools for conservation.
PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244
Carretera a Masaya Km 12.4
Residencial Villas del Prado, Casa No. 7
© 2006 Paso Pacífico