Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mangrove Ecocide in Quintana Roo

These articles and news clips following this article are highly important because they represent the dangers associated with the existing and planned indiscriminate constructions that take place on mangrove rich habitats, in particular, the developments of hotels and golf courses located along the east coastline of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Associated dangers include:
· Methane gas explosions
· Sinking of the soft sediment
· Release of greenhouse gasses
· Loss of biodiversity
· Contamination of water
Increased population density on coasts results in physical, chemical and biological alterations to mangrove environments. The methane released into mangrove habitats is enhanced by human induced factors such as waste from sewage effluent and agricultural runoff. Emissions of CH4 into the atmosphere as a result of domestic waste discharge leads to severe oxygen stress and anaerobic conditions, particularly in freshwater environments. Methanogenic bacteria are present in these mangrove rich anaerobic zones.

These mangroves consist of pneumatophers which diffuse oxygen into these anoxic zones where methane oxidation can occur, which produces methane gas. 50% of the mangrove litter production is converted to soil organic matter in undisturbed mangrove ecosystems. Due to Akumal´s tropical climate, the decomposition of organic matter in summer creates oxygen stress which results in a rapid formation of CH4 in the subsurface in tropical coastal wetlands. These high temperatures lead to increased emissions of CH4 from the subsurface to the atmosphere. For this reason, methane gas stored under high pressure due to human disturbances could potentially be identified as the cause of multiple explosions at The Princess Hotel 3 years ago and again 6 weeks ago and the Zamas Hotel last Monday as methane has been trapped
within the trunks of those once living trees. It is important to note that it is illegal to build on mangrove habitats in the state of Quintana Roo, and is deemed a criminal offense.

Construction on mangrove habitats also drastically alters the level of biodiversity in and around the mangrove ecosystem. Construction on mangrove habitats limits the amount of resources available for species to produce offspring. This has and will have a drastic effect on the future functioning of mangrove ecosystems and the species that rely on them as a refuge, a corridor and a migratory habitat.

Buildings on top of mangrove habitats are a potential health hazard and/or
death to:
· People
· Existing flora and fauna
· Endemic and indigenous species
· Cenotes and freshwater subterranean rivers.

When tidal inundation of polluted waters occurs, the water quality and hydrology of the mangrove and cenote systems become threatened. This affects the organisms that depend on this water to live. This health hazard needs to be identified for the survival of many species and the health of the rivers and mangroves. Please understand how important this information is and feel free to give us any feedback. We also encourage you to share this information with anyone you feel can help in the effort to protect the delicate and unique ecology of Quintana Roo.

If any of these links or attachments do not open please let us know and we will resend them with a different format.

Thank you for reading,

Nancy and the SAVE Staff

Please find the following attachments and links to articles,

· The Blue Carbon Policy Brief:
The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University

· Links associated with carbon sequestration and Blue Carbon:
In Cancun, everyone’s talking about Blue Carbon
GRIDA reference>
Blue Carbon Portal
Open Statement to COP 16 Delegates about Blue Carbon
Conservation International on Blue Carbon
To Save the Planet, Save the Seas

· An article about the explosions at the Princess hotel and Zamas
· An acknowledgment letter from the Princess hotels:

· Articles on methane emission from coastal wetlands: