Forests of Hope site - Pueblo Nuevo, Mexico
Site name: Pueblo Nuevo
IBA(s): Rio Presidio-Pueblo Nuevo, MX077
Location: Durango and Sinaloa States, Concordia Municipality, Sierra Madre Occidental eco-region
Site Area: 274,755 ha
Partner: Pronatura - www.pronatura.org.mx
Values of the site
The Pueblo Nuevo “Ejido” (communally owned piece of land) contains three main vegetation types: temperate Pine-Oak forests (40% of the area), montane mesophile forests and tropical dry forests.
It has been estimated that the site is home to around 250 species of birds, out of which 80% are resident and 20% are migratory. The site is also important for a number of range-resticted species including: Rufous-bellied Chachalaca Ortalis wagleri, Elegant Quail Callipepla douglasii, Mexican Parrotlet Forpus cyanopygius, Black-Throated Magpie-Jay Calocitta colliei, Purplish-backed Jay Cyanocorax beecheii, Sinaloa Crow Corvus sinaloae and Five-striped Sparrow Amphispiza quinquestriata. Other bird species endemic to Western Mexico include the Vulnerable Lilac-crowned Parrot Amazona finschi, Violet-crowned Hummingbird Amazilia violiceps, Striped Sparrow Oriturus superciliosus, Blue Mockingbird Melanotis caerulescens and Red Warbler Ergaticus ruber. There are also species restricted to the Western Sierra Madre such as the Endangered Thick-billed Parrot Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha, Near Threatened Eared Quetzal Euptilotis neoxenus, Red-headed Tanager Piranga erythrocephala, Near Threatened Tufted Jay Cyanocorax dickey, and the possibly Extinct Imperial Woodpecker Campephilus imperialis.
80 species of mammals have been recorded in the area, including the Black Bear. 50 species of amphibians and reptiles have also been registered so far.
The “Ejido” is the home of 1,500 community members. In this context, it is also an important site in terms of provision of ecosystem services. The hydrological flow produced in the area is the main water supply for three settlements of more than 100,000 people and supports irrigation of 300,000 ha of farmland as well as 4,000 ha of shrimp farms. Moreover, this water flow also supports the productivity of the fisheries of Marismas Nacionales across an area of 100,000 ha of mangrove forests.
Key threats at the site include:
- Forest fires
- Illegal logging
- Threat of hydroelectric power plants in the Acaponeta river basin which could open up about 55 ha additional land for agriculture.
- Interest from the mining industry to increase their activities in the region, in particular to mine gold, silver and copper due to the high demand and value of these metals.
Historical conservation approach
In 1995, Pueblo Nuevo voluntarily created the first community forest reserve in the area, certified by the Forest Stewardship programme through the SmartWood programme as successfully managed since 2012. As part of the certification process, it was required for Pueblo Nuevo to identify and monitor the conservation value of the site. For this reason, they began to form a relationship with Pronatura in order to collaborate to achieve this important objective.
New conservation approach
The conservation easement covering 100,000 ha was established in 2012 and the Pueblo Nuevo “Ejido” signed an agreement with Pronatura to work for the protection of this conservation easement. A fund to cover management costs for five years is also in place. Future plans include supporting the community to manage the easement, development of sustainable forestry and forest certification and the establishment of a reserve in the area to specifically protect the watershed.
On the basis of the important hydrological services provided by the “Ejido”, Pronatura is currently working with a number of important stakeholders to establish a Payments for Ecosystem Services scheme in the region. Various government institutions have already shown interest in implementing this scheme.
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