PARK, MAN AND COCOA
Developing project
Executive producer: Ana Cristina Henríquez


To conserve the clouded rainforests as stores of water was the primary motivation of Henri Pittier, the great Swiss investigator and naturalist, to initiate the creation of the first Venezuelan national park.

The bio diversity of the Henri Pittier National Park has been the motive for innumerable scientific investigations, registering more than 1,400 species of flowering plants, 136 species of mammals, close to 580 species of birds, which equates to 43% of all bird life in Venezuela and 6% of the global population. Its surface of more than 100,000 hectares protects a wide variety of environments, each one with its own flora and fauna, such as mangroves, cactus, woods, grass lands and clouded rainforest.

The Henri Pittier National Park is a popular destination for both Venezuelan and foreign visitors, who are temped there by its world fame as a great bird watching spot and its Caribbean beaches. However at present there are serious threats to the future of the park, such as forest fires, the human squatters who want to settle on the protected land, pollution and poaching.

Inside the national park, or very close to the boundaries are some important human settlements, this population could become the main protector of this area. In addition, the cultivation of cocoa, grown in the area since colonial times, one of the agricultural crops most suited to this environmentally fragile zone, because to develop at its optimum it requires the shade of large trees, which maintains the medium and high layers of the forest.

The promotion of this crop and the recuperation of older cocoa plants could provide the impulse to conserve the first protected space in Venezuela. By way of working with the community, they are replacing the agriculture of the itinerant farming that implies deforestation of virgin areas, for the establishment of plantations on the high slopes, with the aim of protecting every ones life: park, man and cacao.


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