As we've noted before, the building boom along Mexico's coasts does not bode well for biosphere reserves and threatened species in this country of incredible biodiversity. But we were surprised to learn that Mexico now invests close to four dollars per hectare in conservation, matching Costa Rica, the highest spender in Latin America, in terms of public funds spent on preserving sensitive and valuable ecosystems. The news came from Mexico's Commission on Natural Protected Areas, which has received a boost from President Felipe Calderon's administration in the last year.
By the end of 2007, Mexico will have added an additional 270 million hectares to its the Natural Protected Areas scheme, the Environment Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira announced recently. The new areas represent an increase of 31% and brings the total of area of protected lands to 850 million hectares.
"This year we will have 850 million hectares of protected zones, and we are sure that they won't be cities, or devastated areas in the future, but conserved ecosystems," said Elvira.
In recent months, the government has expanded and created new protected areas in the states of Baja California, Chiapas, and Michoacan. The ecosystems include coral reefs, monarch butterfly sanctuaries, an archipelago, wetlands and a forested sierra. :: Via Reforma (Spanish link)