Connecting a coastal Reserve with its Surroundings
by Francisco Castaneda Moya
Centre for Conservation Studies
Monterrico’s inhabitants continuously affected by floods, have perceived an increase on their intensity and frequency; considering this, as a consequence of alterations of the watershed made by sugarcane mills. In search of a way to face this problem, inhabitants asked the University of San Carlos of Guatemala (USAC) to intermediate in this issue and try to find a shared solution; this, due to the University through the Centre for Conservation Studies (CECON) is the institution in charge of the Reserve’s management and because of it is a public institution highly known at national level. For doing so, CECON organised a series of field trips along the entire watersheds in which important stakeholders participated to understand the causes behind the flood problems, as an important element in the process of constructing a Conceptual Ecological Model, aiming to make clear all those key interlinks between the Reserve and its surroundings. The realisation of these interlinks, led also to understand that working only inside the Reserve won’t be enough to deal effectively with flood problems. Thus, a bigger working area was considered; however, a bigger area also meant that it would be necessary to coordinate and work together with other stakeholders, not taken into account in the current management of the Reserve. In the same way, it was considered during this process that all those insights gained must be mainstreamed into the Reserve’s management, and the best way to do that would be including them into the Reserve’s highest planning tool, its Master Plan. Hence, the updating process of the current Master Plan began and is still ongoing, and aims to establish a new scale of actions, broader scope of management and new governance scheme, which acknowledge its surroundings.