Mexican WHSRN site is decreed a biosphere reserve

Written by Meredith Gutowski/Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

In May, the Mexican Federal Government published the decree designating Marismas Nacionales, located in the states of Nayarit and Sinaloa, as a Biosphere Reserve. This decree marks an historic milestone in the effective conservation of this WHSRN Site of International Importance.


American Avocet (Recurvostra americana) is the most abundant shorebird species recorded at Marismas Nacionales (61,000 birds). © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The 543,600-acre (220,000-hectare) Marismas Nacionales supports more than 440 species of birds, and its diversity of intertidal mudflats, wetlands, and beaches makes this a key site for the conservation of migratory shorebirds (38 species). In addition, this site contains more than 60 protected-status species of vertebrates and nearly 20% of the country’s mangrove forests.

Several state, national, and international partners have been developing and implementing conservation activities in Nayarit, including research, education, and restoration, among others. Two initiatives that stand out for their importance for bird conservation are the “Linking Communities” program, involving three WHSRN Sites (Great Salt Lake, United States; Chaplin Lake, Canada; and Marismas Nacionales, México), and the International Bird Festival in San Blas. Both programs are well accepted in the communities, and the bird festival now serves as a model for those in other parts of Mexico and elsewhere.

Congratulations to all our partners involved in this important conservation effort, especially Mexico’s National Protected Areas Commission (CONANP, by its Spanish acronym) for making this possible. This declaration is a true milestone in the conservation and protection of natural resources in this important and critical region of Northwest Mexico.


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