A Tool for the Assessment of Forest Biomass as a Source of Rural Sustainable Energy in Natural Areas in Honduras
Gálvez-Sánchez, Francisco Jesús
Ramos-Ridao, Ángel Fermín
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Forest biomass as a rural sustainable energy source has received much attention in recent years due to its major economic, social, and environmental benefits. This research focuses on an adapted methodology based on parameters of the Evaluation of Ecological Integrity for using site-specific information as a tool for the assessment of forest biomass as a source of rural sustainable energy in Honduras, focusing on the Central American Pine–Oak Forests. The parameters used were Percentage of Forest Cover (FC), Patch Area (AREA), Fractal Dimension Index (FRAC), and Proximity Index (PROX). The goal was an average index rating of 5 for an ecosystem which is intact or in its natural state. The findings showed an ecosystem degradation that was outside the range of acceptable variation with a simple average of 1.75, which is far lower than the target rating of five (5.0); the forest cover loss was 40% of the total area. This surprising finding shows that immediate intervention is required to maintain this ecosystem, and that if action is not taken, the ecosystem will suffer severe degradation. Decision makers must consider this methodology for using site-specific information and ensure that local communities are involved in restoring the ecosystem.