Conservation in Mexico
DUMAC's conservation programs in Mexico are based on the same three pillars of conservation used by DU Inc. and DUC: a foundation built on science; delivery of on-the-ground conservation projects; and a commitment to public policy efforts needed to address conservation challenges that far exceed what DU can conserve through habitat delivery alone.
In order to leave a conservation footprint well beyond what its modest operating budget would allow through direct habitat conservation work, one of DUMAC's most important activities has been to generate the science that is required to focus limited resources on the places most vital to waterfowl. For example, since 1991, DUMAC has led and conducted an effort to inventory the wetlands in all of Mexico. To date, DUMAC has identified more than 16.5 million acres of wetlands, following an inventory of over 143 million acres of land in total. No other organization in Mexico has had the capability to conduct such a survey.
Another example of DUMAC's science-based leadership and influence has been its efforts in mangrove conservation. In a major study of Pacific coastal states, DUMAC's scientists documented the rapid and ongoing loss of mangrove wetlands due to unsustainable shrimp farming practices. Using satellite imagery and maps, DUMAC was able to show policymakers that the explosive growth of shrimp farms in Sinaloa and Sonora had caused the death of almost 74,000 acres of mangroves in a relatively few years. This data has been used to work with Mexico's state and federal governments to influence policy to ensure that shrimp farming is conducted in a more sustainable manner that conserves mangrove wetlands. DUMAC's research has also helped focus mangrove restoration projects in areas that can be most effectively restored (such as the 15,000-acre Isla Arena mangrove restoration project), and that can also serve as demonstration projects for other organizations. As a result, DUMAC recently received a national award from CONAFOR (Comisión National Forestal), Mexico's federal forestry agency, for its mangrove restoration efforts.
In addition to science, direct habitat delivery, and public policy, DUMAC has also devoted considerable effort to environmental education and professional development. Through its internationally recognized RESERVA training course, DUMAC has provided advanced natural resource conservation training to more than 420 professional managers working in Mexico as well as 22 other Latin American countries and one African nation. These professionals have all had management responsibilities on natural protected areas, so they were able to immediately put their training to work to make better resource management decisions in their home countries. Numerous wetland and waterfowl courses, mangrove workshops, and other training opportunities are also helping to expand DUMAC's conservation footprint.