|The Morelia Declaration|
|Posted 19 July 2007|
Protection of Threatened Tropical Dry-Forests in Jalisco, Mexico
WHEREAS the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve of coastal Jalisco, Mexico is one of the most important protected areas and best-studied tropical dry forests in the Neotropics, and provides habitat for more than 1200 species of plants, of which 314 are endemic to Mexico; 427 species of vertebrates, of which about 79 are endemic to Mexico; and more than 2000 species of insects; and...
WHEREAS the Reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), and is part of the RAMSAR network of Wetlands of International Importance; and
WHEREAS several turtle-nesting beaches in this region are protected under the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, and the islands of the Bahía de Chamela were recently established as a wildlife refuge; and
WHEREAS, the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve is an area of very active biological research and student training, and therefore plays an invaluable role in the education of Mexican and international scientists; and
WHEREAS on November 22, 2006, the Mexican government's Environmental and Natural Resources Secretariat (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT) authorized two tourist developments, known as "IEL La Huerta" and "Tambora". These developments were both located on lands adjacent to the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve and within the MAB International Reserve, along the coast in Jalisco state.
WHEREAS a technical panel of scientific researchers from four institutes of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Instituto de Biología, Instituto de Ecología, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, and Instituto de Geografía, conducted a detailed analysis of the Environmental Impact Assessment reports (EIAs) of these two tourist developments, and concluded that they lacked scientific and technical rigor
WHEREAS the UNAM technical panel concluded that both projects, as proposed and approved, will have serious negative impacts on the integrity and ecological functioning of
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, during its 2007 annual meeting in Morelia, Mochoacan, Mexico, from 16-19 July, urges the Mexican Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales to:
THE ATBC FURTHER ADVISES the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales to: 1) critically evaluate two additional projects currently under evaluation (Rancho Don Andres and San Carlos), as well as any future development projects that would potentially impact the critical Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, considering not only their individual effects but their synergic impacts on this biologically outstanding region of the world; and 2) carefully consider the views of the relevant scientific community when assessing these impacts and proposed development projects.
Press Release: 19 July 2007 - pdf