The Indio Maíz-Tortuguero jungle is a transboundary region that is made up of the Indio Maíz Reserve in Nicaragua and the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. Its Nicaraguan sector has an area of 318,000 ha, on the Costa Rican side, Tortuguero has 76,937 ha, of which 50,284 are marine and 29,653 are terrestrial.
The Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is one of Nicaragua’s most large reserves, largely undamaged by illegal colonization or deforestation. Contiguous with Costa Rican protected areas, including Tortuguero National Park, renowned for its sea turtle nesting beaches, the Indio Maíz-Tortuguero region includes tall upland rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. With six meters of rainfall per year, both primary productivity and biodiversity are extremely high.
Location map "Indio Maíz-Tortuguero" by Marco Martínez (WCS)
Flora & fauna
The Indio Maíz Reserve was historically one of the most undamaged large reserves in Nicaragua, but increasing deforestation as a result of illegal ranching expansion and land trafficking is threatening the forest and the wildlife that depends on it. The indigenous Rama and Afro-descendant Kriol share communal title to more than 70% of the reserve and their culture and livelihood also depend on its protection.
Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica is perhaps best known for the recovery of its jaguar population, where jaguars are often spotted walking the Caribbean beaches.
In this forest, tropical humid forest and very humid tropical forest predominate. Regarding its ecological importance, this forest stands out for protecting beaches for the spawning of 4 species of sea turtles: Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta); protect important populations of endangered species, including the habitat of the manatee (Trichechus manatus), which is one of the rarest and most threatened mammals in Costa Rica; and also supports the conservation of jaguars, as mentioned, since Tortuguero has one of the largest populations in Costa Rica and a consolidated research program.
Indigenous and local communities
This territory is made up of six Rama communities and three Kriol communities. For the administration of their territory, the nine communities have formed the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government (GTR-K), made up of two representatives from each community.
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