Nicaragua’s tumultuous history has often had dramatic impacts on environmental conservation. Post 1980’s, many rural inhabitants turned increasingly to the forests for firewood and began to harbor this once abundant resource without regulation. Along with rural households, large companies and even Nicaragua’s government have looked to Nicaragua’s abundant forest resources for economic gain. Around 75% of Nicaraguan forests have already been transformed into crop and pasture land. These increasingly deforested areas are subject to severe flooding and landslides. The conversion of forests to commercial agricultural land has more than environmental impacts—it creates issues of land rights, water access and pesticide contamination, along with devastating effects on the local ecosystem. In a country which often experiences environmental disasters, losing more forest due to lack of education and poor regulation is catastrophic. Education and sustainable projects are essential to local environmental conservation. Reforestation projects promote healthy ecosystems, help prevent erosion, maximize water retention, and provide clean air.
Participants work with communities to protect critical ecosystems and strengthen understanding of environmental issues. By teaching environmental awareness in schools and community organizations, participants will empower communities to make informed decisions about how to protect and conserve the local environment and adopt responsible management practices of environmental resources. Projects include working on reforestation initiatives, wildlife conservation, restoring native plant species, implementing recycling programs, creating school and community gardens, and implementing permaculture techniques.