Drought, deforestation, El Nino and iguanas
News from Nicaragua | Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | Click here for original article
Nicaragua continues to suffer from high temperatures and low rainfall as the three year long drought goes on.
The extreme weather has threatened the country’s food security and the government is encouraging people to take care of the vulnerable in society as temperatures in March and April peak at 38.8°C.
The Nicaraguan Foundation for Sustainable Development (FUDENIC-SOS) blames climate change, the El Niño phenomenon,and the government’s lack of policies and resources to combat deforestation.
Nicaragua loses an estimated 70,000 hectares of forest annually through commercial deforestation, illegal logging, agriculture, forest fires and disease and reforests only 15,000 hectares.
Cattle farming is a major contributor to deforestation as it pushes the agricultural frontier farther into what was unspoiled forest in search of more grazing land.
Family food security is another victim of the drought. A lack of rain and unusually high temperatures have destroyed food crops and driven up prices of staples such as beans and maize.
Although the government has responded by distributing food and water, critics argue that more drastic measures are warranted and have called on the government to declare a national emergency.
The drought and loss of habitat is also taking a serious toll on Nicaragua’s wildlife; howler monkeys, sloths, porcupines, squirrels, parakeets, and other species of the dry forests on the Pacific side of the country are all affected. There are reports from the Department of Matagalpa that animals are moving from the forests to the towns in search of food and water.
There are predictions for a good rainy season this year: however given the scale of deforestation and depletion of water tables recovery will be a slow process.