Saturday, May 28, 2011

Environmentalists denounce depredation of mangroves

The following article was submitted to Mangrove Action Project, and has been translated below for our English readers

COLIMA, Colombia, 5th of May (approx.) - Despite all the scientific recognition that mangroves provide a huge diversity of environmental resources and services, which are translated in social well-being, development, investment and job vacancies, the destruction of mangroves in Mexico still persists - have warned environmental groups, such as Red Manglar Internacional, Red Manglar Mexico and Bios Iguana.
In the study "La defensa del manglar en México" ("The defense of mangroves in Mexico"), those organizations denounce that the Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) has been involved in the authorization of underhand projects on ecosystem rehabilitation during the last decade, without sufficient technical substantiation or respect to legal instruments, and so causing environmental destruction.
Moreover, they reject the idea that this dependence promotes the protection of mangroves as the international forums. "Semarnat has taken stepts to weaken regulations that protect these ecosystem, becoming an institution that promotes and defends private initiative related to tourism, industries and ports", they accuse.
This situation, they add, has led the fight for the defense of Mexican mangroves to be increasingly held in international courts, "for lack of security in Mexico, respect to the human rights and the right to the exercise of law".
A recent phenomenon towards social organizations that question the insuficient technical and legal justification to approve changes in land use and to authorize statements of environmental impacts, they expose, has been the governmental strategy to incorporate as consultants academics from public universities who finally agree to endorse the destruction of mangroves.
"Nothing ensures that the government action to previlege private interests through the permanent tactics of social disinformation, lack of transparency, corruption, and criminalization of pacific and legal social mobilization for ecosystems won't persist", they state.
Despite having 11 thousand kilometers of coastline, they refer, Mexico has no laws to define management and exploitation specifically, a situation that makes this area vulnerable against tourism development, ports, real estate, aquaculture and high-impact and risk industry.
"This lack of definition of specific public policies and legal framework to define decision-making, creates a greater chance of environmental destruction, dispossession of land to peasants and indigenous peoples, as well as a permanent impairment to towns and cities", say environmental organizations.
According to figures from the National Commission on Use and Knowledge of Biodiversity (CONABIO), cited in the study, in 2009 the recorded mangrove area in Mexico was of 770,057 hectares, distributed in the 17 states with coastline in the country.
Yucatán Peninsula region has 55% of these ecosystems, with 423,751 hectares, followed by the North Pacific region, with 24.5%, ie 188,900 hectares; the Gulf regions of Mexico and South Pacific have 11 and 8.6% respectively, while in the Pacific Centre there is only 0.9% of the mangrove area.
In their study, the environmental groups present a case series of projects for tourism, ports, industris and real estate that showed anomalies in its approval process, in the states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Defend Honduran Environmental Efforts

Dear Readers

It appears the military in Honduras has taken over the functions and the funding for forest management and conservation from the country’s legally representative office of the Instituto Forestal Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre (ICF) (Created by order # 98–2007 (Diario “La Gaceta” # 31544 del 26 de febrero del 2008)) disqualifying those of the Armed Forces. Yet on April 12, 2011, the National Congress approved a measure to authorize the Executive Branch through the Secretary of State for National Defense, the creation of a Special Unit in the Area of Environment and Forestry consisting of two thousand (2,000) military soldiers, It is estimated that the budget to maintain this unit will exceed 150 million Lempiras per year. This sum apparently does not to exist in the coffers of the state and will need to be extracted from the impoverished Honduran people and from international environmental assistance sources as justified by the decree.

Please read the below sample letter and use it as a template or draft your own, expressing your concern that Honduras not make a mockery of its environmental efforts.

Send you email to

Estimada Sr. R. Sanchez at

Sample Letter to President Lobo Sosa below


Mr. Porfirio Lobo Sosa

President of the Republic of Honduras.

Dear Mr. President off Honduras,

I am the executive director of a global network called Mangrove Action Project based in Port Angeles, Washington. We represent over 450 NGO and 300 scientists from over 60 nations, working towards conservation and restoration of our planets mangrove forests.

I am writing you now because I have read a disturbing article concerning loss of forest protection in Honduras. It appears the military in your nation has taken over the functions and the funding for forest management and conservation from your legally representative office of the Instituto Forestal Areas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre (ICF) (Created by order # 98–2007 (Diario “La Gaceta” # 31544 del 26 de febrero del 2008)).

We at MAP are urging you to re-empower the ICF so that it can do its lawful job and fulfill its intended responsibilities in protecting your country's forests and decreasing the problems of forest fires contributing to air pollution and climate change.

Although ICF was originally created to carry out work of administration, conservation, and forest management, including setting up special protected areas and wildlife reserves, their ability to function has been seriously compromised by the military takeover of their functions., one of which is the very relevant one today of prevention of and fighting against forest fires.

Because of serious lack of funds, the ICF never had the necessary budget, and some part of that intended budget was transfered to the armed forces (FFAA) for more than three years of operation. Please use your powers to ensure that the ICF is able to satisfactorily meet with its constitutional responsibilities and retrieve the budget that they have been authorized to use by the government. Please place back in the hands of the ICF these powers that the armed forces took away.

Towards a Sustainable Future,

Alfredo Quarto,
Executive Director & Co-Founder
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA, 98362