Welcome to this month’s newsletter. As usual, the Sierra Gorda Alliance has been busy on a number of fronts, from helping to set benchmarks for sustainable tourism, to participating in international forums that look to protect forests, to watching youth get their hands dirty through soil regeneration!
We hope you enjoy this edition. Thank you again for your support in making this vital work possible.
DONATE TODAY AND YOUR SUPPORT WILL GO FURTHER
Sierra Gorda friends, you can do more for wildlife in danger, like this recently liberated Margay who depends on well-conserved forests, by donating to our Global Giving project. Global Giving is offering a 30% match on donations TODAY ONLY, which means every dollar will go that much further. If you can, donate today here
Sierra Gorda now a global benchmark for sustainable tourism
Last month, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Mexico became the first Central American destination to complete the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Early Adopters Program. We were able to demonstrate how the Reserve was able to meet strict definitions of sustainable tourism, as set by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. These include being able to demonstrate sustainable destination management; maximize social and economic benefits for the host community and minimize negative impacts; maximize benefits to communities, visitors and cultural heritage and minimize impacts; and maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts. The criteria are designed to be used by all types and scales of destinations.
This recognition helps validate the work and effort that goes into creating a truly sustainable, community-focused eco-destination, which we hope to see replicated across the region.
Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo explains what it means to be a model for this global sustainable destination standard in a video for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council
See all of the “Early Adopter” destinations here
Interaction and integration in Socio-Ecological Systems, Katoomba XX in Lima Perú
This month, Pati Ruiz Corzo, director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda I.A.P. was invited by Peru’s Environment Ministry to attend the Ecosystem Service Forum in Peru. Designed by Forest Trends, group of world experts in ecosystem services and one of Sierra Gorda’s partners, the forum aimed to identify opportunities for climate policy and finance to align with other public and private investments and commitments to ensure that forests and other ecosystems continue to provide critical support for a stable climate, resilient societies, human development, and food security.
Ruiz Corzo presented a case study of participative conservation in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, demonstrating how eco-services are already working to generate real income opportunities for landowners, while protecting old forests. We’re hoping that like in the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, environment agencies and local communities will work together to develop a sustainable economy, while protecting their natural resources including forests, soils, mountains and wildlife.
See more here
Replicating Regenerative Soil Management
In an effort to reduce the environmental impacts of current agricultural practices, last month, Bosque Sustentable experts carried out training sessions for farmers and citizens from the state of Guanajuato. The training included lessons on Holistic Management, Keyline design, soils regeneration and organic agriculture, with special emphasis on looking after the environment and one’s health.
New Laws on Climate Change
Querétaro state’s Sustainable Development Commission has met with environmental authorities, environmental organizations and municipality presidents from the Sierra Gorda to present the state’s new Climate Change law.
The new law is expected to support sustainable tourism activities, upon which the region depends, through protection of endangered forests and ecosystems in the Biosphere, Yairo Marina Alcocer, president of the Commission, explained. In addition, the law will assist in confronting the impacts of large urban areas and industrial activities, which represent an enormous risk to climate change.
Youth get their hands dirty
And it’s all for a good cause. Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda has been organizing skill-building workshops on soil regeneration management throughout March and April, to provide Ecoclub members with the tools and knowledge to better care for their environment. Sustainable agriculture expert and Bosque Sustentable’s Soil Regeneration program manager, Mario Pedraza Ruiz, invites students to his pilot ranch in Tonatico, where they participate in producing organic fertilizers, learn the importance of crushed volcanic rock, and see how to implement Keyline design. Equipped with new skills and knowledge, the aim is for these young people to replicate these practices in their respective communities and carry out soil conservation by establishing community organic vegetable gardens. We hope that this effort will have a trickledown effect, improving environmental conditions and, therefore, people’s quality of life.
Photo of the month by Roberto Pedraza Ruiz
Seductively beautiful, orchids are the most diverse plant family on our planet, and have managed to adapt to a variety of natural surroundings. In the Sierra Gorda, they can be found in every ecosystem, and we are proud to protect the various species in our private reserves. This month’s photo is of an Encyclia cochleata, an epiphyte species that I captured just last week.