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Dr. César Cantú Ayala *
Dr. Carlos Ramírez Martínez *
*Members of the Academic Body
“Management and Conservation of Biodiversity” UANL
Protected natural areas (ANP) are recognized globally as one of the best political instruments for the conservation of biodiversity. They are strategic natural spaces to protect biodiversity, which generate various environmental services, such as providing clean air, clean water, regulating the climate and in some cases food for human consumption, they are habitat for wild species, and mitigate climate change, in addition to free recreational and cultural benefits, generating well-being for society.
Currently, there are a total of 267,387 protected areas in the world, covering 15% of the continental territory and 7.6% of the oceanic surface, which is insufficient, since in the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biological Diversity of Aichi for the period 2011-2020, the objective was set to have at least 17% of each type of terrestrial ecosystem and 10% of the oceanic surface represented in ANP.
On the other hand, despite the fact that 75% of the Earth’s land surface has been significantly altered by human actions, and 66% of the ocean surface is experiencing multiple impacts from fishing, pollution and chemical changes due to acidification, The life-sustaining systems that make up the primary sector of the economy, which include agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing, represent only 4.1% of GDP, while the tertiary sector of the economy, which includes telecommunications and tourism services, They represent 61% of world GDP, which is illogical, considering the increasingly scarce availability of these resources and their vital importance for humanity.
The above is due to the logic that prevails in the current development model, which seeks to maximize profits at the lowest cost. The current Covid-19 pandemic has evidenced this fact, which motivated the United Nations Summit held last September to agree to dedicate global efforts in environmental matters in the 2021-2030 decade to the Restoration of Ecosystems. In fact, at this same Summit it was proposed that at least 30% of the earth’s surface should be protected to prevent further deterioration of wild ecosystems.
In the state of Nuevo León, on November 24, 2000, 23 ANPs of state jurisdiction were officially decreed, which were added to the three existing federal ANPs, which gave rise to the State System of ANP of Nuevo León.
Twenty years after its creation, the state ANP system of Nuevo León has a total of 40 ANP, 11 federal and 29 state, covering 7.5% of the state surface, far from the 17% of proposed protected territory, therefore that the area should be doubled in ANP so that NL keep that commitment. Nuevo León is the state with the smallest surface area in the Northeast of Mexico in ANP; in Coahuila and Tamaulipas 13% and 10% of their territories are protected, respectively. Of the 51 municipalities in NL, 18 lack ANP, which represent 30% of the state territory, while the municipalities of Rayones, Santa Catarina and Santiago have the highest ANP coverage with 90.4%, 87.6% and 77.6%, respectively . Regarding the types of vegetation, the Tamaulipas thorn scrub is the phytocenosis that has the highest coverage in Nuevo León with almost 960 thousand hectares, which represents 15% of the state’s surface, however, less than 1% of its extension is represented in ANP.
The 40 ANPs that currently exist in Nuevo León face various gaps or administrative omissions such as the lack of sufficient human, material and financial resources to fulfill the tasks for which they were created. Only 34% of the protected area (29 State ANP and the Cerro de la Silla Natural Monument) have a management program, while 66% of the state protected area (10 federal ANP) lacks this important instrument of management for conservation. Currently, the public consultation process is open for the management program of the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park, after 20 years of being redefined.
One of the main problems that limit the proper management of ANPs is the limited amount of resources that governments allocate to caring for the environment. In the 35 countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, public spending on caring for the environment does not exceed 2% of GDP. In Mexico, the federal government allocates only 0.49% of its Public Spending to environmental protection and conservation activities, which is equivalent to approximately 0.05% of the national GDP. In other words, for every hundred pesos that are generated from wealth in the country, only 5 cents are returned to the environment. In the case of Nuevo León, the situation is not better, since for every one calculated that of every one hundred pesos that the State Government spends, only 40 cents are allocated to conservation and protection of natural environments, despite the fact that in Mexico has a record that ANPs contribute almost 68 billion pesos annually in environmental services, which represents that for every peso of federal public spending that is invested in ANPs, 52 pesos are recovered in environmental services.
In addition to the lack of administrative and financial support suffered by the ANPs from public and private institutions, there is the fact that most of the people are unaware of the existence of this type of area, which is reflected in a low interest and little participation in favor of nature conservation.
Due to all of the above, it is urgent that governments and society in general increase their interest and actions in favor of the ANP, which will improve the situation in which these types of areas are currently, which in turn will allow improve the quality of life of society.