Deep inside the verdant and sweltering vegetation of Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast, a specially trained army unit is waging a new kind of war against a new type of enemy.
Operation Green Gold is the inaugural mission of Nicaragua’s newly formed Ecological Battalion.
It is Central America’s first concerted effort to seek a military-backed solution to the threats of climate change.
In a country with 71 nature reserves and other large areas of thick, primary forest, Nicaragua’s precious hardwoods are tempting booty for timber traffickers.
Since 1983, Nicaragua’s forest cover has dropped from 63% to some 40%, according to government data.
Not all Nicaragua’s deforestation is caused by the lumber mafia - farmers and cattle ranchers are also doing their fair share of careless chopping.