Oxfam Cymru are fundraising with Size of Wales for this unique area in Nicaragua. The Bosawas was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1997. It forms a continuous block of tropical forest covering an area of two million hectares, making it the largest forest reserve in Central America, and the second largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere after the Amazon in Brazil. The Bosawas also overlaps the homelands for the indigenous Mayagna and Miskito peoples. For these indigenous peoples the forest has a strong significance as a source of life, a place which provides food, where they obtain medicinal herbs and where they carry out their ceremonies.
Over the last ten years, migrations of people from the central and northern regions of the country have resulted in massive deforestation (up to 100,000 ha per year) due to the rapid and unsustainable clearing of land for agriculture and intensive livestock raising. This leads to soil erosion, water pollution, loss of species of animals and plants and the way of life of the indigenous population native to the area.
This project aims to address the threats to the forest and its peoples through advocacy to ensure the legal protections that the area has on paper are put into practice and to train and develop a new generation of young indigenous leaders to ensure the sustainability of the struggle of the Mayagna people for the conservation of the forest, their habitats and ancestral culture.