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Saving a Mexican EcosystemKent Paterson for Salem-News.com
Considering Mexico's fragile ecosystem.
(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) - The Montreal-based North American Commission for Environmental Commission (CEC) announced November 19 a step forward in saving one of northern Mexico’s most important but endangered ecosystems. In a press statement, the CEC unveiled the formation of the Regional Alliance for Chihuahuan Desert Grasslands Conservation.
According to the trinational commission set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Regional Alliance was the fruit of a decade’s work by citizen organizations and official institutions in Mexico, Canada and the United States aimed at preserving a vast landscape that provides crucial habitat for migratory birds and other species. Additionally, the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands deliver vital environmental services in a time of climate change.
The fragile ecosystem not only recharges aquifers, but also acts as a sink for carbon, according to the CEC.
The goal of the new Regional Alliance is to “study, conserve, rehabilitate and use in a sustainable manner this ecosystem, which is one of the most valuable but least appreciated in the country,” said Juan Guzman Aranda, alliance coordinator.
The CEC estimates that between 50-70 percent of the original Chihuahuan Desert grasslands have disappeared. Abutting Mexico’s northern border region with the United States, the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands also are a major producer of beef cattle. Jurgen Hoth of the World Wildlife Fund’s Chihuahuan Desert program said the Regional Alliance will promote sustainable beef production and “align efforts related to the well-being of a shared ecosystem in North America.”
According to the CEC, 30 governmental and non-governmental organizations from the three nations of North America have banded together in the Regional Alliance for a common environmental purpose. “For the first time in Mexico, adding in the trans-border cooperation, the recognition of the environmental, social and economic value of the grasslands will permit the establishment of strategic conservation plans comparable to existing ones in the US and Canada,” affirmed CEC Executive Director Evan Lloyd.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news
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