El Salvador Wildlife and Economy
Animals and Plants
Which animals live in El Salvador?
There are hardly any habitats left in El Salvador for larger mammals. However, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, wrapped bears and anteaters still live in the country. Squirrels, porcupines, pakas and skunks can also be seen. Coat howler monkeys, nine-banded armadillos, and whitebearded peccaries are other residents of the country.
The bird world is particularly rich in species. The torogoz is the national bird of El Salvador. It is just as colorful as the blue crown momotus or the hummingbird or parrot species in the country. Other birds in the country include the white hawk, forest stork, osprey, king vulture, and great hokko.
The American crocodile is found in rivers, on the coast and in lakes. There are also snakes and lizards. The black-eyed tree frog is critically endangered. The green iguana can be up to two meters long if you measure the tail.
Four species of sea turtle (out of a total of six that exist) live in the sea off the Salvadoran coast: the olive ridged turtle, leatherback turtle, hawksbill sea turtle and green sea turtle.
The nature in El Salvador
The original rainforest was unfortunately much in El Salvador cut. The land was turned into agricultural land to grow coffee and cotton, or the wood was felled to get firewood or construction wood. Many animal and plant species disappeared with it. Efforts are now being made to counteract this with national parks and other protected areas. In the El Imposible National Park, the largest preserved, contiguous forest in El Salvador has been preserved since 1989.
What is growing in El Salvador?
It is estimated that 400 species of orchids and 800 species of trees grow in El Salvador. That is still a lot and is typical of Central America. Among the tree species in El Salvador are cypress, oak and pine, but also mahogany, white gum trees and kapok trees. The “tree of the seven shirts” is endemic to El Salvador, so it only grows here, in the El Imposible National Park. Mangrove forests with red, black and white mangroves grow on the coast.
The economic situation in El Salvador
Of the three sectors of the economy, services occupy the largest place in El Salvador. They generate 60.3 percent. This area also includes trade and restaurants, the area of education or professions in the health system. Tourism has so far not played a major role in El Salvador, but it is growing. In 2015 more than 1.4 million tourists came to the country, in 2016 around 2 million.
According to travelationary, 27.7 percent of economic output comes from industry, 12 percent from agriculture. The return of money by emigrated Salvadorans, especially from the USA, to their homeland also accounts for a large proportion.
The high crime rate and corruption are problematic. Earthquakes and hurricanesare also repeatedly affecting the country economically. In addition, income is unjustly distributed: a few rich earn a lot, many poor earn little. Almost 2 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line and is therefore considered extremely poor. The affected people have less than $ 1.90 a day to live. Around a third of the population (29.2 percent) is considered “poor”.
Coffee, sugar and cotton
After all, 20 percent of the population work in agriculture, but only generate 10 percent of the gross domestic product. Coffee, sugar and cotton are grown on large plantations. The export goods also include shrimp. Corn, rice, beans and millet are more for your own consumption.
Coffee plantations began to emerge in 1880. At that time, the government geared the economy towards the sale of coffee. The land of the indigenous population was gradually taken away from the owners and given to large landowners. The livelihoods of the indigenous peoples were deprived of their livelihood. They were now forced to work on the coffee plantations.
Today the production of coffee only plays a minor role in the economy. Quite a number of coffee plantation owners have switched to Fair Trade coffee. It happens that the coffee rust attacks the plants and destroys large parts of the harvest, for example in 2013.
The processing of textiles occupies a high place in industry. From Mexico (see Mexico Economy), maquila companies (maquiladora s) have spread to Central America and thus also to El Salvador. In these factories, parts that are imported (imported into the country) are assembled into finished goods. In El Salvador, these are mainly textiles that are sewn together here – mostly by women. The finished goods are sold abroad again. The maquila factories offer work, but they often only pay low wages and the workers have few rights.
Other industries include the production of food, beverages, chemicals, furniture, and light metals. The largest trading partner for both exports and imports is the USA. However, this also makes the economy very dependent on the US economy.