The Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important protected areas and well studied tropical dry forests of the neotropics that include more than 1200 species of plants (of which 314 are endemic to Mexico), 427 species of vertebrate (of which about 23 are endemic to Mexico), and more than 2000 species of insects. Because of this outstanding biodiversity, the Reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB), and part of RAMSAR network of Wetlands of International Importance. Furthermore, several turtle nesting beaches 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.
On November 22, 2006, the Mexican government’s Environmental and Natural Resources Secretariat (Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, SEMARNAT) through the General Directorate of Environmental Impact and Risk (Dirección General de Impacto y Riesgo Ambiental, DGIRA) authorized two tourist developments: “IEL La Huerta” (registration number 14JA2006T0018) and “Tambora” (registration number 14JA20-06T0011). Both located on lands adjacent to the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve along the coast in the state of Jalisco.
A Technical Panel of scientific researchers from the Instituto de Biología, Instituto de Ecología and Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), conducted a detailed analysis of the Environmental Impact Assessment Reports of these tourist developments. The resulting document, “Analysis of Tourism Projects in Chamela” (“Análisis de los proyectos turísticos Chamela”), was presented to the public on March 22, 2007, and it is now available in the following website:
The UNAM Technical Panel concluded that the Environmental Impact Reports lack scientific and technical rigor because the information on the biodiversity and conservation status of the flora and fauna is incomplete, and therefore the biological importance of the region is inadequately diagnosed. Both project reports fail to identify the type and extent of all potential environmental and social impacts and therefore, they do not establish real mechanisms for the mitigations of any environmental impacts. In sum, the UNAM Technical Panel concludes that both projects, as proposed and approved, will have serious negative impacts on the integrity and ecological functioning of the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve as well as other nearby protected areas and the ecosystem of the region as a whole. These developments also threaten the stability and equitable social development of the human populations in the region.
For these reasons, we urge the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales to (1) verify that the authorizations given to these projects were done according current official norms and environmental laws, and international treaties, (2) re-evaluate the Environmental Impact Reports for each of these projects taking into consideration the analysis done by the UNAM Technical Panel, and (3) proceed with the suspension of these project authorizations.
If you agree to with the “Analysis of Tourist Projects in Chamela” conducted by the UNAM Technical Panel, as well as this request to SEMARNAT,
we invite you to register your support below.
The Technical Analytical Panel