Biosphere Reserves in Mexico Expand Conservation
Seabirds on the shoreline of Coronado Island, Mexico (Ellen Macdonald)
In December 2016, Mexico announced the establishment of three new biosphere reserves that will conserve over 2.7 million acres, 21 islands, 97 islets, and the surrounding marine areas. The Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve will protect islands and the marine environment along the Baja California peninsula.
Biosphere reserves are important features of conservation, unifying protection of terrestrial, marine, and coastal ecosystems. A goal of these protected areas is to reconcile the conservation of species with the sustainable use of resources. The biosphere reserve helps to promote sustainable growth and to preserve areas by creating core areas, buffer zones, and transition areas which balance conservation with human needs and uses.
Stakeholders, including the fishing community, private conservation organizations, and government agencies were crucial in the building the Pacific Biosphere Reserve and demonstrate the value of community engagement. Cooperation and partnerships facilitated conservation without displacing people and their needs. Alfonso Aguirre Muñoz, director of Conservación de Islas in Ensenada commented:
The decree now legitimizes the hard work done by civil society during so many years, with already tangible and relevant results.
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