Scientific study alerts on the Yucatan coast’s state of health

(Photo: yucatan.com.mx)

“The National Coastal Resilience Laboratory (Lanresc) coordinated the preparation of the “Report Card for the Yucatan Coast 2017″, with the participation of the Faculty of Sciences, the Coastal Processes Engineering Laboratory (LIPC) and the Faculty of Chemistry of the Academic Unit of Sciences and Technology of the UNAM in Yucatan”, informed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) in a statement.

The analysis was made by team integrated by experts from the Technological Institute of Sonora, the Secretariat of Urban Development and Environment (Sedums Yucatán), Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatán (PPY) and Niños y Crías A.C.

What is the purpose of a report card?

Coordinator Paulo Salles Alonso de Almeida explained:

-“These report cards are designed to assess the health of an ecosystem and monitor positive and negative changes over time, providing additional information to scientific knowledge about plants, animals, habitats and key processes in the ecosystems of a region”.

-“The Report Card for the Yucatan Coast was developed using a process that consists of five stages and the results were obtained from an analysis of the indicators that represent agents of change and key resources. In addition, these indicators allow establishing an environmental baseline to prioritize monitoring programs in order to support management strategies and decision making”.

-In accordance with the report card for the Yucatan coast of 2017, these indicators are based on the available information and scientific research results, and are considered to be easy for the general public to understand. Each indicator is compared to threshold values ​​to establish whether its condition is “good”, “fair” or “bad”, he added.

“Other indicators could have been interesting but we did not have access to the data or the data did not exist, so that was also a criterion that we had to take into consideration,” said Salles Afonso.

An outstanding aspect is that the data of four of the seven indicators of the report card were provided by the Primary Production Laboratory of Cinvestav, through the thesis research of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students who, in the words of Jorge Herrera Silveira, coordinator of the laboratory, “have worked with commitment and professionalism”.

“I do not know how many laboratories have the opportunity to monitor many variables with different components for more than 20 years, and this is thanks to labor of each and every student that has worked in this laboratory throughout time, so I want to recognize the work of all of them,” Herrera Silveira said during the presentation of the Report Card for the Yucatan Coast 2017.

According to Herrera Silveira, the process of preparing the report card -developed by a multi-disciplinary work team- highlighted the lack of monitoring programs, one of the most evident critical aspects that have been mentioned in different forums.

“There are many researchers with a lot of valuable information but they are just beginning to formulate the first data on how that information can shed light on the environment’s health. It is through monitoring that we can know if that variability we observe is the product of natural conditions or is really due to an environmental impact, ” he said.

“In Mexico, institutions such as the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) carry out monitoring programs, but it is still necessary to expand these efforts and include actions such as establishing, supporting or expanding scientific, governmental and Civil society participation, as well as establishing observation programs and involving citizen volunteers,” Herrera Silveira continued.

Flamingos at Celestun Lagoon, with the Mangrove in the back (Photo: Google)

According to Jorge Herrera Silveira, the format of the report card is very accessible to the general public. On the first page, it presents a summary of the information with illustrative diagrams, with the purpose of providing users with useful information.

“The Report Card for the Yucatan Coast, one of the first of its kind in Mexico, is the result of the joint effort of many people and it’s an example of how to present scientific information to decision makers and civil society. The work that many of the research groups are doing is very useful for all,” said the researcher.

For the national researcher level III, the report card must have a frequency of between three and five years to generate enough relevant information. Meanwhile, it is important to start the study of specific sites where environmental problems are likely to arise.

“The report card is a format used for the socialization of the results of research projects that has already been tested in countries like the United States and has led to concrete actions, so it is expected that thie report card generates a positive environmental impact in Yucatan, from the momento of its publication.

TYT Newsroom with information from yucatan.com.mx



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