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  The history of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve reflects the diverse cultural and biological values of this region of the Honduran Mosquitia. In 1960, the Honduran government created the Ciudad Blanca Archaeological Reserve (c. 5250 km²) for the Plátano River region and in 1969 declared the region an archaeological national park.

However, the cultural significance of the reserve and the vast, relatively undisturbed forests of the area led to numerous scientific investigations, and in 1980 the reserve was internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program. It was the first such reserve in Central America and was subsequently inscribed on the World Heritage Site List in 1982.

The reserve was placed on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 1996 where it currently remains due to peasant colonization, large-scale clearing of forests for cattle pasture, illegal timber extraction, governmental indifference, unregulated hunting and fishing, theft of archeological artifacts, and population growth.

In 1997, the amplification of the boundaries of the reserve to the Patuca River in the southeast expanded the size of the reserve to 8500 km² creating the largest protected area in the Honduran portion of the Meso-American Biological Corridor. In accordance with the Biosphere Reserve concept, the reserve is divided into three areas, the core zone (almost uninhabited), buffer zone (inhabited by Mestizo colonists), and cultural zone (inhabited primarily by indigenous peoples).

To learn more about the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve:



ECOS-Río Plátano
PO Box 16020, Bellemont, AZ 86015, USA
E-mail ECOS-Río Plátano