What is the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve?
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is the largest tropical forest reserve located in Mexico. The Reserve was established in 1989. The formal protection was the main clue in countering regional development promotion and exploitation of natural resources without control and poorly adapted land use.Geological structures of Calakmul are the oldest rock formation on the Yucatan Peninsula. Reserve contains also other types of relief like zones of erosion, flat lands and karstic valleys.
The sub perennial Mexico Jungle contains not only trees and other plants. In Calakmul live also many species of wild animals, for example monkeys, jaguarundi (a cousin of jaguar, but it is smaller), toucans, turkeys and other kinds of birds. Thanks the Reserve biologists can save endangered animals and lead projects that can help to improve a knowledge about animals and generally nature. This place is not only a fantastic nature oasis but also a historical place of Mayas culture. Calakmul in Maya means “the city of two ancient pyramids.’ Tourists can visit the Great Pyramid that is a proof that this city was serving civilization during the Classic period. In UNESCO World Heritage site are over 6500 structures from Calakmul Biosphere Reserve so that shows how unique is this region of Yukatan. At present in Calakmul live also people communities called Ejidos. Most of the settlements are located on the eastern side of the Reserve. People work in areas like timber extraction, agriculture, ranching, hunting, honey production, tourism and small-scale commerce. Hunting is allowed only for self-sustenance because of character of these place.
Because of amount of people activity on Calakmul Biosphere, the terrain is threatened and is very visible. Population growth and the conflict between government and local people can bring a bigger risk to keep the Reserve in current shape. The main reason of conflicts is a project of government in 1960s when was decided to settle there immigrants of 23 states within Mexico. The result were differences in culture of life and land use strategies that caused problems in understanding objectives of reserve regulations. The region suffers also from a scarcity of water. Around many local human settlements, the poor ability to gain clean water is apparent. The small amount of what is there already is reserved for tourists. Activity of tourists brings some economic opportunities for this region. And in pair with opportunities go also high expectations for locals in addition to foreigners looking for jobs. The true reality comes when local residents could further exploit the area and may cause more damage to the Biosphere.
Rapid growing infrastructure for tourism could soon bring a water crisis because of different needs of inhabitants and tourist industry. Agriculture requires areas for growing plants so wild plants and trees are endangered. Infrastructure like roads, hotels and other helpful for tourists also ruin nature order in this region. But the biggest problem seems to be a lack of coordination between conservation and development organizations. One particular concern is the insufficient coordination between agencies in charge of cultural and natural heritage, respectively. This coordination is needed to keep the nature in original shape and also allow people to visit it and live in neighborhood of Reserve.