Critical regions, a profile of Honduras

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Over the past two decades the landscape of Honduras, a mountainous, tropical nation in Central America with 5.5 million inhabitants Figure 1, has been transformed through overgrazing, monoculture agriculture, and deforestation. In the southern region, changes in rain patterns and soil fertility have been accompanied by an increase in median ambient temperature of 7.5 degrees C (see Table I. Deforestation in central and northern Honduras have affected waterbasins and water availability. These climate and other interacting changes have already affected the distribution of vector-borne diseases. Much of the land in Honduras has been weakened, and the storms that have accompanied volatile world weather patterns over the past decade have resulted in extensive floods and landslides.

Honduras has thus become especially vulnerable to climatic change and climate instability.It is not alone. Other "critical" endangered regions-where basic life-support systems, including soil fertility and water supplies, are threatened-are Haiti and the Philippines, the Basin of Mexico, south-eastern Kenya (Ukambani), eastern Borneo, Nepal's middle mountains, China's Ordos Plateau, Amazonia, and the Aral Sea (former USSR) (Ref. 1).

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