The Importance of Nature Reserves in the Riviera Maya
Many areas of Quintana Roo are protected under preservation orders, but they are still at risk from pollution and insistent developers
Mexico is the fifth most bio-diverse country in the world. Its territory has 176 nature reserves, covering more than 25 million hectares of land, equivalent to 12.93% of Mexico’s territory.
According to CONAMP, Quintana Roo has 10 state reserves and 17 federal reserves with a total area of 312,864,672 hectares. There are also international agencies working to preserve natural areas such as Sian Ka’an and Banco Chinchorro (UNESCO), and 13 wetland areas protected by RAMSAR.
The importance of natural preservation areas is to protect endangered species and unique bio-diverse zones. These efforts cover a great diversity of habitats: coastal lagoons, reefs, coastal dunes and the jungle.
The Riviera Maya’s exponential growth is putting a lot of pressure on the environment and its former inhabitants. The jungle is being replaced with concrete, while the underground rivers and the reefs are being affected by contaminants.
Conservation areas are vital for our community. The jungle allows animals to have a home and to recharge our aquifers. The aquifer feeds cenotes and creates the amazing colors of our beaches. If we destroy them, we are in fact destroying our livelihood.
Many of these nature reserves are endangered. It seems that having decrees on paper is not enough. Developers keep trying to build on these reserves, while authorities give the green light, forgetting the importance of preserving these areas.
Our community and NGOs have been able to stop projects like Tajamar (Cancun), Punta Laguna and Yum Balam (Holbox). Lately, another reserve has been endangered by a tourist project, Xcacel-Xcacelito, a conservation area that covers 362 hectares.
This beach is a nesting site for two different species of turtles: green sea turtles and loggerhead turtles. Xcacel is also a place of recreation for locals and visitors alike, one of the best-preserved beaches in the Riviera.
It is important to be part of the efforts to preserve all of our nature reserves, to be part of the change. Learn, share and participate as much as you can. We live here, and it is up to us to keep the Riviera Maya beautiful. If you want to learn more about the Riviera Maya, download our free guide about this subject: https://topmre.com/kitlivinginmexico