Highway construction threatens mangrove forests in the Yucatan Peninsula

(Photo: laverdadnoticias.com)

MÉRIDA, YUCATAN.- The Yucatán Peninsula concentrates 60% of all the mangrove forests in Mexico and specialists have identified that one of the main threats to the ecosystem in the area is the construction of highways, as they impede the hydrological flow of the ecosystem.

On Monday, July 26th, we celebrated International Day for the Defense of the Mangrove Ecosystem, specialists recalled that there are several actions being developed today to rescue the mangroves in the Yucatan Peninsula since it is of great environmental, ecological, economic, and social importance.

In this regard, Eduardo Bastar, head of the Restoration and Protection Department of the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), recalled that programs such as Environmental Compensation for change of land use in forest lands are carried out so that sites with degraded mangroves are sought out to be restored.

An example of the work being carried out is in Dzilam de Bravo, where, with an investment of almost four million pesos, work is being done to regenerate this type of ecosystem in Yucatan.

Efraín Acosta, technical coordinator of Pronatura Península de Yucatán, pointed out that work is currently being carried out in this area in alliance with the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados (Cinvestav) and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) to restore a little more than 200 hectares of mangrove in Yucatán.

Meanwhile, Cinvestav researcher, Jorge Herrera Silveira, commented that he is in charge of the technical aspect of this restoration together with a group of researchers, since it is necessary to recover this ecosystem, with which Mexico ranks fourth in the world and the Yucatan Peninsula, third nationally.

The researcher explained that in the state of Yucatan there are at least 15 thousand hectares of mangrove degraded and in the case of the Yucatan Peninsula one of the main threats is the construction of highways.

He also indicated that in Yucatan, another existing problem is the construction of harbors without adequate engineering management.

“In some points, the degree of degradation is severe because if you pass by the edge of the road you will notice that there are dead mangrove trees,” he said.

The specialist pointed out that if mangrove degradation continues, one of the economic sectors affected would be fishing, since it currently serves as a nursery for marine species, and beach erosion would also increase.

In Yucatan, the area most affected by road construction is Dzilam de Bravo towards Sisal.

Although there are water crossings on the highways, these have stopped working, since most of them have not been maintained for years.

The Yucatan Times
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