Coordinator: Dr. Alfredo Ortega Rubio
The mission of the Environmental Planning
and Conservation Program is focused on knowing, investigating, and monitoring the
effects of ecosystem transformation as a result of human activity to propose
remediation, management, and conservation measurements supported with the
results of scientific research to mitigate, reconcile, and turn productive
activities into sustainable activities.
The transformation of land, aquatic, coastal, and
marine ecosystems usually occurs because of massive extraction of natural
resources. Human pressure on these resources causes deterioration or loss of the
environmental services and health of these ecosystems. The effects of human
activity affect ecosystematic processes that timely result in the loss of
critical habitats, plant surfaces, loss of biodiversity, and varied
contamination (by heavy metals, pesticides, fuels, coliforms, etc.). Likewise,
reduction of natural resources which are vital for human beings and their
settlements is evident, as well as the decline of environmental and human
health due to incidence of pests, red tides, and diseases.
In the northwestern region of the country, which is
basically made up of desert and semi-desert areas, it is important to regulate the
water cycle, its surcharge, storing, and drainage processes, especially evident
for the survival of certain critical habitats and biodiversity, as well as for
human settlements. The incidence of extraction of resources and human
settlements in coastal and marine ecosystems of the region also causes problems
on biodiversity, critical habitats, water cycle, and environmental and human
Deriving from these problems, the following objectives
have been established:
Assess the effects
of human activities on ecosystems in the northwestern region, and the costs of
their transformation through the study and analysis of the benefits that
environmental services provide to local and regional populations.
Determine the importance
of underground flow in arid zones and its participation in the balance of
coastal ecosystems of interest, both natural and human.
Know and assess
the effects of natural and anthropogenic environmental disturbances on health
of land and marine ecosystems, as well as on health of the organisms in such
ecosystems, including human beings.
Determine the most
important critical areas and habitats for conservation of biodiversity, and
evaluate the effects of human activity on their critical habitats. Likewise,
continue generating knowledge on the state of conservation of the species
listed in NOM-059-ECOL-2001 as threatened and in danger of extinction, with
emphasis on those that live in the northwestern part of the country.
Establish a knowledge base for recovery, conservation, and integral exploitation of natural
resources in the region by incorporating microorganisms as biocatalysts.
Link the results of
this research to national needs, convert them to increase sustainability of the
productive activities of the region, and take concrete proposals of management
and conservation of natural resources for decision makers.
The Program has managed to have a relevant impact at
national, regional, and local level contributing with studies of territorial
regulation at several scales, which is essential information to formulate and
sustain protected natural areas in the region, such as the Biosphere Reserves
of El Vizcaino, Sierra de La Laguna, and Archipelago Revillagigedo. It is also
essential information for conservation of species that are endemic, vulnerable,
or with any risk of extinction and that now form part of the list of protected
species in the country (NOM-059-ECOL-2001).
The Program of Environmental Planning and Conservation
comprises a range of investigation approaches: from environmental planning at
landscape level to the study of microorganisms for remediation of essential
ecosystem processes. For this purpose, the Program counts on specialized
laboratories for each strategic line, animal and plant collections, as well as
state-of-the art tools, such as Geographic Information Systems. All research
lines are directed to make human activities in the northwestern region more
sustainable, increase as much as possible the standard of living of its
population, and apply basic knowledge to decision making in conservation and
management of ecosystems.