Seeing the forests and the trees links
Mexican forests cover more than 140 million hectares or about 72% of the national territory. That said, the trees are falling quickly. A recent government study of satellite images, the country is losing its once abundant forest cover almost twice as fast as previously estimated. According to the study -- www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=1407 -- annual forest loss in those years averaged about 2.78 million acres instead of the 1.5 million acres that was previously reported..
Officials tie the conservation and reforestation of forested areas to the security of the country. Officials estimate that their destruction costs Mexico around 12 per cent of the Gross National Product, or roughly US$38 billion each year. To learn more about forestry issues, there is no better source than turning to the Web.
The Environmental Secretariat SEMARNAT has a number of valuable resources online, including detailed information about the national forest campaign -- http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/bosque-agua/ -- historical statistics about deforestation -- http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/estadisticas_ambientales/estadisticas_am_98/forestales/forestales04.shtml and legal documents galore -- http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/snif/cgi-bin/snif.pl?menus/menu5.men. Of current interest, the site provides PDF files documenting the 2001-2006 national forestry plan -- http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/programas/pnforestal.
This is a highly recommended site for serious researchers and one of the best examples of a government site that provides detailed information to the interested public.
World Rainforest Movement
This Uruguay-based website has an abundance of information about Latin American forests and takes a watchdog position questioning Mexico's new forestry law. For example, the site documents the minutes of an official meeting among Finnish environmental groups and the Mexican delegate from the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) -- http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Mexico/acta.html. World Rainforest Movement has a long history, and news reports about Mexico are easily found via its speedy search engine. Reports are available in English and Spanish.
Sistema de Información de los Incendios Forestales
4/5 Stars /5 Stars
Developed as a partnership between SEMARNAT and the Canadian Forest Service and Natural Resources Canada, the Forest Fires Information System is an engaging site that provides a great deal of information about current forest fires and potential affected areas. Bes t of all the site is updated regularly as demonstrated in its map collection -- http://fms.nofc.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/mexico/docs/current.html.
Bosque La Primavera
This Spanish-language site focuses attention on a small forest in the state of Jalisco. The site is being developed and has great potential. Highlights include a collection of regional maps and directories aimed at the serious researcher.
Programa de Acción Forestal Tropical (PROAFT)
The Mexico City-based Tropical Forestry Action Program boasts a long history and noble goals, but the Spanish-language website provides little detailed information and does not appear to be updated in some time. The section about the physical library -- http://www.laneta.apc.org/proaft/proaft/biblioteca.html -- includes hours of operation but does not disclose the location.
Forest Stewardship Council
The Oaxaca-based FSC is a global institution working toward the certification of sustainably harvested wood. The bilingual (English-Spanish) site could be much improved with current information about the group's work. Very little is available about their field operations in Mexico. Instead, most of the news coverage focuses on institutional matters.
International Model Forest Network - Mexico
Canadian-based initiative presents shallow brochure-level profiles of its work
Mexico Forests Sectors - Gerardo Segura
- Analysis presented in 2000 regarding the state of forest resource management
Mexico's Forests Falling Fast - People and the Planet
- Synthesis of current deforestation figures
The Forestry Industry in the State of Chihuahua: Economic, Ecological and Social Impacts Post-NAFTA - Texas Center for Policy Studies
- May 2001 report in PDF format; This is a bit obtuse and the web links are obsolete, but it provides a thorough overview
Global Conservation Portal
- This well-organized and informative site provides an encyclopedic collection of information about rainforests around the planet. News links are updated daily and links to outside websites are arranged by region.