The Physical Geography of El Salvador: A Geophysical and Ecological Approach
Simon Fraser University, Lecturer, Victoria, BC, Canada
Series: Geography and History of the World
El Salvador is possibly among the most environmentally degraded nations in Latin Americas, or even the Americas. Yet, it is also among the most environmentally dynamic nations in the American region. Situated at the juxtaposition of several spatial phenomena, such as the Mesoamerican Biodiversity Hotspot, the Pacific Ring of Fire and associated volcanoes and earthquakes, the meeting point of hurricanes and tropical storms from both the Pacific and the Atlantic, and numerous environmentally disastrous wars, this nation has endured much change. Recent developments have demonstrated the intelligence of the people and the current government in dealing with these issues, through acknowledgement, empowerment, study and management. The relevant issues have rarely been included in one book. This book takes a critical look at the environmental system of El Salvador, from the integrated perspective of physical geography. Physical geography emphasizes three main clusters: geomorphology (allied to geology and hydrology), climatology (linked to meteorology) and biogeography (manifested as the spatial assessment of ecology). The book argues that this approach is sufficient for the assessment of the main environment issue of El Salvador. The book therefore begins with an introduction to the main complexes of physical geography and relates these to the Central American Region. El Salvador is then examined, from this viewpoint. The book concludes that the situation in El Salvador may improve, through species reintroductions, reforestation, expanded environmental protection, more critical urban development, and better management of natural hazards.