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4.1 SITES PRIORITIES

The third dimension to be annalized in this document, are those exercises that deal with specific sites or discreete regions, which are important to preserve biodiversity in Mexico. The main difference between these exercises and the previous ones that were included in the Select Biogroups Conservation Targets chapter, is that in general terms, the importance of the former deals with overall biodiversity relevance of the sites according to experts oppinion, and the latter is based on actual field data on the relevance of the site for a few specific species. Sites identified in both set of exercises integrate Mexico´s National Conservation Sites Portfolio.

The National Site Conservation Site Portfolio becomes a basic tool used for determinig which specific areas at the national level need special attention in order to preserve Mexico´s biodiversity and by providing a comprehensive view at this level, it helps determine which conservation strategies are better adapted to implement on different sities within the portfolio.

The conservation strategy toolbox available to implement conservation in Mexico is ample. On the legal side different laws provide different tools: protected areas and environmental program ordinances (ordenamiento ecológico del territorio or OET) from the Ecology Law; wildlife management units (Unidades de manejo para la conservación de vida silvestre or UMAS), critical habitat (hábitats críticos para la conservación de la vida silvestre), no-take zones (áreas de refugio para proteger especies acuáticas) from the Wildlife Law; fisheries regulations from the Fisheries Laws; forestry management plans from the Forestry Law; limited water extraction zones (zonas vedadas o reglamentadas), national water reserves (reservas de aguas nacionales) from the Water Law, etc. On the non governmental side, and small but dynamic land trust movement is emerging in Mexico that includes not only private landholders but indigenous communities and ejido lands. This is augumented by an also incipient but encreasing realization that alternative rural productive practices can be modified to not only generate more profit, but also to protect biodiversity.

The first set of exercises are the ones developed by CONABIO (National Commission on Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity). These expert workshop driven exercices identify regions of importance for terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity. All three exercises are superimposed in one map in order to visualize overlaps of thee comonents. This overlap map should be analized with caution and the superimposition of all three habitats should not be automaticaly be asumed to contain the most importan sites for biodiversity in Mexico, since a complete overlap can only occour in coastal regions, two element overlap inland and no overlap in the seas.

The second set of exercises deal with specifi sites which are

The Conservation Foundation - Maily Terrestrial Secretaría de Desarrollo Social - Mainly Terrestrial World Wildlife Fund - Freshwater Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, The World Bank, IUCN - Coastal Marine World Wildlife Fund - Coastal Marine Wetlands International/WWF - Coastal Marine RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands - Wetlands Conservación Internacional - Wetlands

The third set Existing

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