Unbridled deforestation on steep hillsides is responsible for much of the erosion of Guatemala’s soil. Already about one-third of all land cover is considered eroded or seriously degraded, a significant amount when one considers the high degree of susceptibility to erosion of Guatemala’s soil, which is composed largely of unconsolidated volcanic ash. Deforestation and soil erosion work hand in hand and are responsible for many of the tragic mudslides in the aftermath of tropical storms such as Hurricanes Mitch and Stan. Soil erosion has also contributed to greatly shortening the useful life of Chixoy Dam, which supplies about 15 percent of Guatemala’s electricity, through siltation of the dam’s reservoir.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com