Nature and Biodiversity

Why investment in forest restoration is critical for Mexico’s future

The image shows a Mexican city surrounded by trees, illustrating how Mexico's forests are the country's lifeblood

About 180,000 hectares of Mexico’s forest are lost every year to deforestation. Image: Photo by carlos aranda on Unsplash

Daniel Sánchez y Sánchez
Private Sector Engagement Director, Reforestamos México A. C.
Frida Isela Murillo Frías
Advocacy Coordinator, Reforestamos México A. C.
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One Trillion Trees

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • Mexico is one of the top five most megadiverse countries on earth, it's home to about 12% of the world’s biological diversity.
  • Mexico suffers from one of the highest rates of deforestation on the planet, a third of its land area is severely degraded.
  • Led by the World Economic Forum and the Mexican Alliance for Ecosystem Restoration (AMERE), a coalition between Reforestamos Mexico, WRI Mexico and WWF Mexico, the Mexico Chapter has launched to scale the conservation and restoration of Mexico's forests.

Spanning Meso-American rainforests, mangrove swamps, cloud and evergreen forests, alpine habitats and vast deserts, Mexico is one of the top five most megadiverse countries on earth. It's home to about 12% of the world’s biological diversity.

Historically, Mexico's landscapes have given way to diverse swaths of ecosystems and rare biodiversity. This includes Howler monkeys, jaguars and Monarch butterflies, which take refuge in Mexico’s forests during their migration, transforming them into dazzling burnt orange wonderlands. These lands have also cultivated ancient human civilizations, such as the Aztecs and Mayans, and today about ten million people live in and from Mexico's forests, with 50% of that population being indigenous.

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Mexico's deforestation rate is one of the world's highest

But Mexico suffers from one of the highest rates of deforestation on the planet. With 180,000 hectares of forest lost per year and a third of its 194 million hectares of land already severely degraded. The loss of Mexico's forests is largely due to human activity, such as rural productive systems, which has accelerated the degradation of ecosystems and the loss of vegetation cover at an inordinate rate.

This imbalance negatively impacts Mexico's ecosystems, its biodiversity and its people. It has led to an increased vulnerability to natural disasters, a decrease in the quality and quantity of water resources, an expansion of the distribution ranges of vector-borne diseases, an accelerated rate of species extinction and a drop in crop harvests that guarantee food security, amongst others.

Communities that depend totally and directly on livelihoods linked to Mexico's forests are also experiencing job losses in the fishing and agricultural sectors, which leads to a reduction in economic income and thus to social marginalisation and poverty. This reality causes further problems, including situations where communities make decisions to support themselves whose consequences are not favourable to the surrounding ecosystem. This further promotes the deterioration of their living conditions and the natural resources they have.


What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Collective action for Mexico's Forests

The United Nations recently established the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 with the objective of protecting and restoring ecosystems, improving livelihoods, counteracting climate change and halting the loss of biodiversity. This global call for restoration presents an opportunity to build partnerships, scale solutions and invest in forests.

In Mexico, several initiatives have been developed that are designed to support the restoration agenda. This includes the Diagnosis of Priority Sites for Restoration and the National Biodiversity Strategy of Mexico and Action Plan 2016-2030, prepared by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO).

One of the most recent coalitions is the formation of the Mexican Alliance for Ecosystem Restoration (AMERE), which is coordinated by three civil society organizations, Reforestamos Mexico, WRI Mexico and WWF Mexico. This alliance seeks to connect stakeholders, provide guidance on private and public sector restoration initiatives and drive investment in ecosystems. In particular, AMERE aims to ensure investments support life today and in the future, with a commitment from landowners to companies that can direct investment to the implementation of restoration projects in the territory and offer inputs derived from restoration-based value chains.

To support these efforts, AMERE and the World Economic Forum’s initiative, the Trillion Trees Platform, is launching the Mexico Chapter. This aims to connect key actors from across stakeholder groups, spotlight innovations that are ready to scale and unlock private sector partnerships and targeted investment flows. The chapter will offer Mexican-based companies the opportunity to make responsible commitments to conserve, restore and grow forests by pledging to

Join the virtual launch session on September 29, 2022, to learn about the Mexico chapter and get the opportunity to be part of AMERE's private sector working group on responsible restoration.

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