Manchón Guamuchal is the largest marine coastal wetland in the Guatemalan Pacific coast, and makes up the largets reserve of wetlands in Central America. It is located in the Southwest, in the township of Ocós, San Marcos, and in the Southeast in the townships of Retalhuleu and Champerico, in the Retalhuleu province. Within the reserve you can find different habitats such as mangroves, dry forest, beaches, lagoons and estuaries, all of which contribute to the existence of a broad biodiversity.
The reserve was created in 1989 as a specially protected area under the Protected Areas Law (Decreee 4-89) and in 1995 was included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Wetland Convention(RAMSAR site).
Most of the land in Manchón Guamuchal is private property. In 1998, the owner of Tamashan Agricultural Farms requested from the National Council on Protected Areas (Conap), that the portion of wetlands in his property be declared a Private Natural Reserve, and elaborated a protection plan under the Program of Forest Incentives (PINFOR) of the National Forest Institute (INAB).
The private natural reserve “La Chorrera (Guamuchal)” was recognized as such by the CONAP on October 13, 1998, with a total extension of 1,243 ha (Resolution 107/98).
The administration and conservation of the reserve are the responsability of its owner. The sustainable forest management succesfully contributes to the conservation and protection of the existing fauna.
According to Mr. Francisco Espinoza (2011), the extension of the mangrove has increased betweeen 1974 and 2010, as shown in the Landsat satellite images (Figure No. 1). During this time to area of the Manchón Guamuchal Pprivate Reserve-Finca Tamashan grew from 67 km2 to 77 km2 at the end of 2010.
Mr. Espinoza attributes the growth of the mangrove forest to the creation of canals, designed and paid for by the owner to drain excess rainwater and to supply the Finca Tamashan S.A.'s shrimp farm. The farm has made additional efforts to pay for forest rangers with the help and constant monitoring of the INAB.