Deforestation has destroyed 40% of the Yucatan jungles

Not only felling and the removal of forest and vegetation have caused the decline of the Yucatecan jungle, but also activities related to agriculture and livestock.

Agricultural activities are the main cause of the loss of forests in Yucatán, followed by illegal logging and forest fires. Not to mention the poorly planned urban development of Mérida and other cities in Yucatán for the last two decades. The construction of megaprojects and reindustrialization of some regions across the peninsula have also contributed to this serious problem.

Specifically in Yucatan, 20 thousand hectares of jungle are lost every year, and between 30 to 40% of the original jungles of the state have been deforested, especially in the city of Merida.

“If the cutting of trees continues and the problem of deforestation is not addressed, the jungle could disappear completely,” said Minneth Medina García, director of the Biocultural Intercultural Board of Puuc.
“Each year, around 20,000 hectares of forest are deforested in the region, leading to its rapid disappearance. You could say that 30 or 40 percent of our forest has already been lost,” said the expert.

Yucatán has more than 3 million hectares of forest areas.

The expansion of livestock, agriculture and urban development projects are the main predators of the flora, and the negative consequences are already visible, but could intensify in the next few years if the government don’t stop these destructive actions, According to Medina García, at this pace, there will be no jungle in the whole Yucatán Peninsula in 100 years.

Mangrove areas at risk

According to the National Forestry and Soil Inventory, Yucatán has almost four million hectares, of which 3,200,000 are considered as forest areas.

And talking about the mangrove, the destruction represents irreparable losses in ecological matter, since it slows down the growth of many species important for man.

Illegal mangrove felling is continously carried out in the Ría Lagartos Natural reserve.

“Mangrove varieties are those that are going to take the longest to recover and maybe in some cases, given the growth of tular and grassland, the loss may be irreversible,” explains environmentalist Eduardo Batllori.

Despite the serious problem of the devastation of green areas, only non-governmental organizations such as “Plant for the Planet” and “Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatan” carry out prevention activities in schools to raise awareness among children and adults about the problems of climate change .

“Having an elementary ecological conscience is not just planting trees, this is an important aspect that is complemented with its conservation and monitoring”, says Luis Guillermo Alcocer, president of Plant for the Planet in Yucatan.

– Around 20,000 hectares of forest are deforested every year – 30 to 40% of the forests of the entity are already deforested, finding the most severe point in the city of Merida.

Biodiversity Extermination in Yucatán

In every 10 square meters of low jungle (bosque bajo) in Yucatán, it is still possible to find a diversity of up to 30 types of trees, hundreds of insects and a wide variety of plants and flowers.

However, the development of agriculture, roads, livestock and the absence of environmental public policies have contributed to the destuction and erradication of many different species.

“Therefore, not only felling and deforestation have caused the decline of the forest, but also the activities parallel to agriculture such as spraying, which have helped to devastate the local biodiversity that once we were proud of,” said Marco Antonio Cupul Ku and Fernando Hau Nahuat, who represent beekeepers, and who have lost 600 apiaries with thousands of bees located in a natural reserve of the Dzonot Carretero community in Tizimín.

“Our bee populations died after a neighboring businessman ordered aerial fumigation. This happened in September of last year and since then, affected Maya beekeepers have filed several complaints before Profepa, Sagarpa, and Cofepris, but until now none of our complaints has prospered”, said Cupul Ku.

They mainly called on the environmental authorities to review their case and punish whoever is responsible for the extermination of the insects, because it is known that the bees, besides the economic aspect they offer with the production of honey, are nataural pollinators that guarantee the survival of many species in tropical ecosystems.

Mangrove root system – 647,244. 27 hectares are protected, and even so they are affected by the felling and subtraction of wood.

From 2010 to 2018, nine ecological reserves suffered the ravages of logging, hunting and illegal fishing, 800 hectares of vital ecological importance were destroyed by fire, of which only 350 are in the process of recovering due to reforestation, according to data from the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa)

At the end of last year (as a sign of the illegality in which the consortiums dedicated to the construction of housing and spaces for tourist services operate in the Peninsula), environmental authorities were uselessly alerted by farmers members of the National Union of Agricultural Workers civil association (UNTA), on a mega ecocide occurred in the mangrove area in the Ría Lagartos Protected Natural Area.

Ignacio Machaín Sosa, secretary general of the UNTA, demanded to put a stop to the devastation of more than 5 thousand square meters of wetlands, at the hands of a local politician and businessman whom he identified as Felipe Marrufo, who together with his partners, pretended to build a housing development in the mangrove area.

Although the project was stopped, the damage to the mangroves and other forest species such as zapote, jabín, tzalam, pucté, chechén, granadillo, red, palms, ceibas, cedars and bojón, is irreversible and so far nobody has been held responsible by the authorities for this terrible ecological crime.

Reforestación en Valladolid (Photo: It is estimated that in 100 years Yucatan could run out of forests if deforestation is not stopped – 3 million 952 thousand 400 hectares, total territory of Yucatan

TYT Newsroom with information from

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