Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mexico’s ecology important for future

Jared Blumenfeld, right, regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, walks with Wildcoast coastal program manager Paloma Aguirre among debris in the Tijuana River just north of the border with Mexico

As Mexico progresses and works to pull itself out of “third-world” status, media attention mostly focuses on the economy, violence, drugs, poverty and immigration. Absent from much of the news is how Mexico is managing its varied and distinct ecology. The population of the country has grown from 26 million in 1950 to 114 million today.  There are just 67 federally recognized national parks—ecologically protected areas managed by the government’s ComisiĆ³n Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas—accounting for only 0.73 percent of the Mexican territory.  Some might feel it’s difficult to make a case for saving forests and animals when people in the same areas are suffering from poverty and unemployment. No doubt it’s a difficult balancing act for the Mexican government, but protecting natural resources is as important as helping individuals. Mexico’s biodiversity and cultural heritage is almost unparalleled. UNESCO’s World Heritage list for Mexico includes 27 cultural sites, four natural sites and there are 32 sites or locations presently on a consideration list. One preserve; the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve protects the habitat of approximately 70 percent of the wintering monarch butterflies’ eastern population...more

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