La Encrucijada, a protected coastal wetland ecosystem in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, was recognized this week at the third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, as a model of environmental protection. The event, held in Madrid, Spain from February 4-9, brings together representatives from more than 100 countries involved in managing protected areas.
La Encrucijada’s swamps, lagoons, mangrove forests and the only Zapatonal forest in the region serve as a refuge for an abundance of wildlife, including 73 mammal, 11 amphibian, 34 reptile, and 294 bird species. According to La Encrucijada's director, Francisco Javier Jiménez, the reserve's managers have been able to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems inside the protected area as well as some of the area that surrounds it. Jiménez added that he and his team have worked closely with local communities and the municipal and state governments to meet common goals over the last 12 years.Mexico's National Commission on Protected Areas (Conanp) said in a statement that the model applied in La Encrucijada was presented alongside protected areas in Canada, South Africa, Spain, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Biosphere reserve managers around the world hope to replicate the Encrucijada in other countries.:: Via Excelsior (Spanish link)
Earlier this week, we reported that Mexico reaffirmed its commitment to wetlands protection by adding 6.7 million acres of newly protected wetlands to its national inventory. That commitment sprouted in part from the success of already-established wetlands reserves like La Encrucijada.