Promoting protected areas and maintaining species diversity
Title: Promoting protected areas and maintaining species diversity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation AMEXCID (Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo); Technical counterpart: National Commission of Natural Protected Areas CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
Nearly 30 million people live in the central part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the most densely populated region in Mexico. The major cities of Mexico City, Toluca and Cuernavaca together form an amalgamated city landscape known as a megalopolis. This area lies in a high mountain range that is home to 36 federal and more than 100 state nature reserves.
However, these protected areas and their neighbouring natural zones are under great threat. Urbanisation and environmentally unsound land-use practices are fragmenting natural habitats. The water, air and earth are being polluted. In addition, the temperate forests of the region form one of the country’s ecosystems most severely affected by climate change. This puts important environmental services at risk, in particular those that secure the supply of drinking water in the region.
Extremely high social and economic inequality between the rural and urban population characterises the region. Agricultural and livestock farming focuses on self-sufficiency and serving local markets. Productivity is low. Small producers are insufficiently organised and have little access to agricultural extension services and funding.
The management of protected areas in the central part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt is improved. The significance of protected areas for the environment and economy has been consolidated in politics and society.
The project promotes the management skills of employees to ensure effective management of the protected areas through training measures. Together with federal and state actors, the project is working to improve the availability of relevant information. Management instruments are to be standardised more. Staff working at protected area authorities are better positioned to involve the local population in the management of the protected areas. They should take better account of inclusion and gender aspects.
The project also tests and disseminates approaches for the local population to make environmentally friendly use of biodiversity in livestock farming in mountainous regions and tourism. Success stories are prepared and disseminated. At the same time, the project advises key actors on deploying these approaches in other regions. It works with various departments to allow inclusive implementation.
The project motivates public, private and societal actors to participate in maintaining biodiversity in the region. Various mechanisms are planned to allow the federal level, states and other societal actors to improve coordination and cooperation in protected area management. The project also contributes to strategically communicating the significance of protected areas for positive economic development and the wellbeing of the population.
- The national protected area authority and other stakeholders improved their performance capability and skills in several in-service training courses. The effectiveness can be seen, for example, in the improved annual work plans of 16 protected areas.
- Park rangers have better information available about forest fires, pests and illegal logging. A geo-reference system was launched for digital registration of information to this end. In the future, the system will be linked with a publicly accessible environmental database, which can be used as a basis for decision-making or cost-benefit analyses at local and region level.
- Thanks to pilot trials with sustainable livestock breeding in protected areas and neighbouring regions, local protected area authorities now recognise opportunities for maintaining and restoring biodiversity. They no longer view this topic as a threat.
- The projects intensively addressed issues of participation, equal opportunities and gender equality. The project succeeded in increasing the involvement of women and recognition of their role in economic activities.