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Environmental Planning and Conservation
Written by Dr. Alfredo Ortega Rubio   


Coordinator: Dr. Alfredo Ortega Rubio

Planeación Ambiental y Conservación

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 health.

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.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 11:59
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