Monday, March 22, 2010

The Biodiversity in the Ixil Triangle

This region in the northern area of El Quiche, right on the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes -the highest non-volcanic mountain range in Central America, there is this area called the Ixil Triangle because it is formed by the only three Ixil Maya descendants communities: San Gaspar Chajul, San Juan Cotzal, and Santa Maria Nebaj, where the Ixil languaje is spoken.
Commonly, the word biodiversity is associated mostly with other than human nature aspects; however, in the Ixil Triangle, the human side of biodiversity is what keeps this region alive, looking into the future.
Because the Cuchumatanes mountain range is associated mainly with the Huehuetenango department, in general I would say that even Guatemalans often forget the importance of the Ixil Triangle and its people in the conservation of the amazing biodiversity in the biosphere reserve B'isis K'ab'a (or Visis Caba, its name in Spanish), which has an extension of 45,000 square meters and was declared protected area in 1997.
Most of this reserve is covered with pine-oak humid forest and receives over 6,000 mm of rainfall annually, reason why streams, ponds, rivers and waterfalls are abundant.
Among other species, this area is house for six endemic amphibians including the endangered Plectrohyla tecunumani, locally known as "ranita Ixil".
Additionally, the area is also important for the protection and conservation of the drainage river basin of the rivers Ixcan and Xacibal.
With the signage of the Peace Accords on December 1996 and several organizations working in the area, conditions have been changing in positive ways, encouraging these communities to rebuild not just their towns, but their lives and what we can appreciate today, are flourishing, industrious communities in a very spiritual atmosphere deeply rooted in their Maya Ixil tradition.

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