The high birth rate in the rural regions of Calakmul during the 1980's (6.19)-- considerably higher than the national average of 3.29--as well as a high rate of immigration, resulted in rapid population growth in the region. ParksWatch suggests that national health institutions send greater numbers of health brigades to the rural areas to initiate family planning campaigns.
Towns are expanding, which due to poor planning and design of the reserve, is affecting sensitive areas of the reserve. Parts of the core areas do not have buffer areas and towns are located directly on its borders. We believe, along with other institutions that work in the area, that an important strategy for the future would be the redesign of the core areas within the reserve and also the creation of a registry for the territories of the communities.
Conflicts between the administration of the reserve of the local population
It is important that the programs run by the administration concentrate on environmental education. They should also promote communication between administrators and locals in order to explain the objectives of not only sustainable development programs, but the objectives of the reserve itself. Information dissemination programs should include workshops and classes that cover topics such as alternative means of exploiting the natural resources, like the Programs on Sustainable Development (PRODERS), that promotes the reserves' objectives in the communities. To achieve these goals, it will be necessary to hire more reserve personnel dedicated to environmental education and sustainable development projects.
Subsistence hunting and poaching
The Management and Sustainable Extraction of Wildlife and Birds (UMAS) was established in several of the towns in the region of Calakmul, but at this time there is no information about the management, monitoring, and actual levels of exploitation. We recommend the strict evaluation and monitoring of UMAS in order to understand the achievements, opportunities, and efficiency of this governmental program. This information will allow us to understand the extent to which the government has addressed the issues of subsistence and poaching in the reserve. Poaching and the trafficking of wild animals is a problem throughout the reserve and, therefore, it is necessary to solicit the Federal Environmental Protection Program (PROFEPA) to coordinate with state and federal authorities already working in the reserve in order to control the exploitation of wildlife.
Slash and burn agriculture
Currently, there exist projects that promote organic agriculture that is compatible with sustainable soil use, in addition to promoting the diversification of production to include honey and other non-timber forest products, and certified woods. The development of ecotourism could also supplement income earned through agriculture. These projects should continue to be promoted in order to foster a more sustainable long-term relationship between the people and the environment, in order to reduce the impact of traditional agricultural practices and at the same time, improve yields. We also recommend workshops and training sessions with the farmers on fire prevention and containment.
Highways and roads
We propose implementing studies that evaluate and monitor the effects that the highways in reserve's core zones have on the flora, fauna, and ecological processes of the forest. The results of these studies, as well as those derived from the analysis of population growth and increased human activity since the construction of the highways, could be used to argue in favor of a new design for the reserve.
The marketing of tourist activities and archeological sites in the area has generated an increase in the tourism industry as well as the demand for constructing infrastructure and providing services. However, the scarcity of water in the region requires that these activities be well planned and contain studies on the impact on surrounding territories and human activities. This should involve participation and coordination with SEMARNAT to achieve a thorough understanding of the environmental impact caused by the growing tourism industry.
Poor reserve design
ParksWatch believes the design of the reserve should be improved, involving the participation of all stakeholders in the region. We believe that the current reserve design does not guarantee the protection and conservation of the most biologically diverse areas and has caused numerous conflicts with local people.
Detrimental policies and lack of coordination between the government and NGOs
Better coordination should exist between different institutions and organizations that work in the region. The regional council is working on this problem and could become a means for coordinating other groups in the area. This would result in a better use of economic resources in order not to duplicate efforts and to maximize efficiency. Continuity and support should be given to the projects that work to minimize impacts on the reserve, for example organic agriculture, ecotourism, and sustainable development alternatives. Additionally, we should analyze the different programs that operate in the region so that their objectives do not contradict one another.