Forests of Hope site - Frailescana, Mexico
Site name: Frailescana
IBA(s): La Sepultura, IBA MX166, El Triunfo, IBA MX169
Location: Chiapas State
Site Area: 830,000 ha
Values of the site
The Frailescana site is designated as a Natural Resources Protection Area. It is situated within a corridor linking two Biosphere Reserves: the Reserva de la Biosfera la Sepultura and the Reserva de la Biosfera el Triunfo. The site is home to evergreen, semi-evergreen, deciduous and semi-deciduous areas of forest.
There is relatively little information about the biodiversity of this region. Globally threatened bird species found at the site include the Near Threatened Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus, Vulnerable Highland Guan Penelopina nigra, Endangered Horned Guan Oreophasis derbianus and Endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler Dendroica chrysoparia. The Near Threatened Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno and Endangered Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi is also likely to occur on this site.
The Frailescana region has a total population of approximately 220,000 inhabitants across five Municipalities. Around 36% of the land belongs to “ejidos” (communally owned piece of land), 45% to private owners and 9% to the state.
The members of the “ejidos” usually practice subsistence agriculture (corn, bean, coffee), cattle ranching and forestry.
Key threats to the site include:
- Unplanned and unsustainable agriculture
- Uncoordinated public policies
- Infrastructure development
Capacity for forest management is limited, and a lack of economic opportunities for alternative income generation or access to basic services exacerbates these threats.
Historical conservation approach
ProNatura has been working at this site for at least eight years. The main activities being implemented at the site include:
- Promotion of sustainable forestry amongst local landowners
- Support local communities to increase social capital
- Local land use planning
- Development of strategies for adapting timber management to climate change
- Technical, organizational and commercial assistance for the plantation, production and sale of palm
- Supporting the production and sale of resin with facilitating exchange with other communities
New conservation approach
Mexico is currently developing its national REDD strategy and plan and the States of Chiapas and Yucatán are also developing their state-level REDD strategies in preparation for the establishment of the California carbon market, which is expected to allow the marketing of credits from REDD projects implemented in Mexico. REDD project development is encouraged both by the federal and the state governments. Pronatura is very actively participating at both the national and state level discussions on REDD. At this site, they plan to undertake a feasibility study with the following main objectives:
- REDD+ potential assessed for over 400,000 ha of the Frailescana region: including the estimation of emission baselines and likely carbon reduction through mitigation measures
- Implementation of demonstrative, mitigation-oriented forest management and governance measures at 15 pilot sites covering 15,000 ha, including training and fire management
- Development of financial products and identification of potential markets for carbon and forest projects, including the estimates of costs of mitigation measures
- Institutional strengthening and contribution to regional and national REDD+ strategies, including training for regional and national government staff
Meanwhile, Pronatura will continue to work to identify alternative income generation initiatives for local communities such as palm and resin production, low impact forestry and coffee production.
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