Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche

© IUCN / A. Putney
Country
Mexico
Inscribed in
2014
Criteria
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(ix)
(x)
The conservation outlook for this site has been assessed as "significant concern" in the latest assessment cycle. Explore the Conservation Outlook Assessment for the site below. You have the option to access the summary, or the detailed assessment.

The site is located in the central/southern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula, in southern Mexico and includes the remains of the important Maya city Calakmul, set deep in the tropical forest of the Tierras Bajas. The city played a key role in the history of this region for more than twelve centuries and is characterized by well-preserved structures providing a vivid picture of life in an ancient Maya capital. The property also falls within the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot, the third largest in the world, encompassing all subtropical and tropical ecosystems from central Mexico to the Panama Canal.
© UNESCO

© IUCN / A. Putney
© IUCN / A. Putney

Summary

2020 Conservation Outlook

Finalised on
04 Dec 2020
Significant concern
The World Heritage site is located within the wider Maya Forest and constitutes an integral and important component in the transboundary network of protected areas within that region. Forest loss and degradation in the Maya Forest caused by forest fires and illegal logging, among other threats, are well-documented and will take a toll on the values of Calakmul unless mitigated and managed. Increased communication, coordination and cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors, governmental levels and sectors and across international boundaries is needed. Also, finding sustainable economic activities for the local communities is of particular importance. Even though the World Heritage site enjoys formally adequate legal protection and structured management there are well-documented and serious concerns about the configuration and zonation of the protected area since the establishment of the biosphere reserve. Many observers have consistently stressed the shortcomings of the boundaries and zonation from both a socio-economic and a nature conservation perspective. While the history and consequences of past human use constitute a remarkable basis for a human-environment forest system, much of the contemporary resource use is unsustainable. Some illegal resource uses may require reassessment while clearly damaging illegal resource use requires stricter enforcement of existing laws. One particular concern is the insufficient coordination between agencies in charge of cultural and natural heritage (INAH and CONANP), respectively. However, certain progress has been achieved in this area, including through joint development of new Management Plan for the site.

Current state and trend of VALUES

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The fast and ongoing land use changes and the loss and degradation of the wider Maya Forest undoubtedly have further direct and indirect impacts on the World Heritage site. While still impressive, the renowned wildlife populations of Calakmul face increasing pressure from poaching, trade and increasing fragmentation of their habitat. Recurrent forest fires and illegal logging are also of concern. On the other hand, a number of recent studies show that Calakmul remains one of the most important areas of the Maya Forest for conservation of many species, such as for example the Baird's tapir.

Overall THREATS

High Threat
Calakmul benefits from its relatively central position within the larger Maya Forest and the de facto buffering functions through various large protected areas, including in Guatemala to the South. Ongoing forest loss and degradation in the wider region continue to pose a risk to long term conservation and landscape connectivity. This includes forest fires, illegal logging and longstanding infrastructure plans at the regional level and more recent plans to invest in tourism development. Tourism development comes with opportunities, but also raises important management questions, including as regards access roads and water and waste management. Within the World Heritage site and its buffer zone, there are ongoing strong concerns about uncontrolled use, questions around zonation and boundary design and a lack of boundary demarcation. Natural disturbance factors such as fire and hurricanes are expected to result in stronger impacts as a function of anticipated climate change.

Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT

Some Concern
The area has long benefited from its remoteness and limited infrastructure in addition to a high degree of natural protection from the vast surrounding forest areas. The formal protection of the area as a Natural Protected Area back in 1989 was a key step in countering unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and poorly adapted land use. The drastic policy shift prevented the cultural and natural heritage from exploitation while also leading to poorly communicated and negotiated exclusion of local communities from traditionally used resources. Management planning is well-structured but requires consolidated implementation and adequate resources. One particular concern is the insufficient coordination between agencies in charge of cultural and natural heritage (INAH and CONANP), respectively. However, certain progress has been achieved in this area, including through joint development of new Management Plan for the site.

Full assessment

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Finalised on
04 Dec 2020

Description of values

Major and highly valuable remnant of a vast human-environment forest system

Criterion
(ix)
At slightly more than 300,000 hectares with an even larger buffer zone (together a total of 723,185 hectares) the property is a large and well-protected example of the coupled human-environment system sometimes referred to as the Selva Maya or Maya Forest (IUCN, 2014, Lawrence et al., 2004). Located in Southern Mexico along the border with Guatemala, the property and its buffer zone are embedded in a vast and extraordinary seasonal tropical forest system that extends into Guatemala, Belize and to a smaller extent El Salvador.
The Calakmul Reserve is characterized by its size, good state of conservation and continuity with other regions in the Yucatán Peninsula, Chiapas, Guatemala and Belize. It is considered to be the largest forest mass in Mexico and, together with the forests of Guatemala and Belize, the second largest remnant forest left in Latin America after the Amazon (World Heritage Committee, 2014).
Following historic conversion and modification during the highly sophisticated Maya civilization, the forests continue to be shaped by past human use (IUCN, 2014).

Rare species and high species richness

Criterion
(x)
The forests within and beyond the property boast a remarkable species richness and provide critical habitats for numerous rare and threatened species. The Calakmul Reserve lies in the most important tropical forest region in North America, and protects the largest tropical forest reserve in Mexico, including part of the Maya Forest and forms part of the Mesoamerican biological corridor.

The Maya Forest is a heterogeneous landscape mosaic, including closed forests, seasonally inundated lowland forests and grasslands. Accordingly, the property offers a wide array of habitats and niches for a highly diverse flora and fauna (IUCN, 2014).
The area is home to 86 species of mammals (including five of the six cats that exist in Mexico, jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), margay (Leopardus wiedii), and jaguarondi (Herpaolurus yagouaroundi); 358 species of birds (including the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), ocellated turkey (Agriochars ocellata), hawk eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), and parrots like Amazona albinifrons; 75 species of reptiles; 18 species of amphibians; 31 species of fish; 380 species of butterflies; and 1,500 species of flora (10% endemic). The Reserve has about 90 endemic species (SIMEC-CONANP, 2017).
The vertebrate fauna is particularly noteworthy, with charismatic species including two endangered species of primates, Yucatán Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) and Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi). Calakmul is also home to important populations of the endangered Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) (IUCN, 2014).
Sixty-two species of Melolonthinae, Rutelinae, Dynastinae, Cetoniinae, Scarabaeinae, Ceratocanthinae, Trogidae, y Passalidae are recorded from Calakmul (Morón-Ríos and Morón 2016).
Importance in regional connectivity
Many of the above values, such as major populations of large vertebrates, depend on habitats and landscape connectivity beyond the scale of the property. The property is a large and important component of the national and regional protected areas network, within and beyond the Maya Forest. Jointly with the contiguous Area de Proteccion de Flora y Fauna Bala'an K'aax in the adjacent Mexican state of Quintana Roo, as well as with Mirador-Rio Azul National Park and Biotopo Naachtn-Dos Lagunas in Guatemala, which in turn is contiguous with the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Areas in Belize, the property forms a major protected area cluster. Despite important land use change in the wider forest region the property has maintained ecological linkages across the borders into Guatemala and Belize and to the Mexican Caribbean coast. This connectivity is important for many fauna, in particular for the endangered jaguar: about 900 hundred jaguars (almost half of the 2000 estimated for the entire Yucatan Peninsula) have been estimated to use the Calakmul Reserve (Chavez et al., 2006).
Remarkable geology and geomorphology
While not inscribed under criterion (viii) the property has a noteworthy karst geology featuring a wide spectrum of corresponding surface expressions. In a region of extremely scarce surface water, in particularly during the dry season, evaporites retaining water in so-called aguadas are crucial for both human beings and wildlife, constituting a direct link between the geology of the region, its biodiversity and human history (IUCN, 2014, State Party of Mexico, 2013).

Assessment information

High Threat
Among the particularities of Calakmul is the fact that it is not only a fairly large site but also one that is embedded in a vast forest landscape. The World Heritage site is contiguous with several other protected areas. Given the increasing pressures on this landscape in all countries, there is a risk of isolation unless functions and connectivity can be maintained at landscape levels beyond the property. Challenges in terms of insufficient sector coordination at the landscape and at the protected area level are well documented. In the site itself and its immediate surroundings, there continue to be concerns about poor natural resources management, uncontrolled resource use, including for illicit trade, and tensions with local communities. Of particular concern is the damage caused to the forests and fauna of the reserve by recurrent fires, as well as persistent illegal logging.
Crops, Livestock Farming / Grazing
(Impacts of agriculture and cattle-raising)
High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Traditional slash and burn agriculture produces significant impacts on the forest. While small-scale in the World Heritage site, both subsistence and commercial agriculture and cattle-raising cause consistent concern, aggravated by inadequate land use practices by immigrants from other parts of Mexico (State Party of Mexico, 2013; Garcia-Frapolli et al., 2009; TNC, n.d.).
Fire/ Fire Suppression
(Fires)
Very High Threat
Inside site
, Localised(<5%)
Outside site
Fires are a major natural disturbance factor but also a land clearance tool leading to an overlap between natural and anthropogenic factors. Risks of accidental fires could be increased by improved visitor access. There are some concerns about structural changes in the ecosystem and the role of fire in it, as dry seasons are expected to become more pronounced (State Party of Mexico, 2013). Recurrent forest fires are a major threat to the Calakmul Reserve. For instance, from 2013 to 2017 at least 30 fires were reported to have destroyed several thousand hectares of forests in the core and buffer zones.
Invasive Non-Native/ Alien Species
(Invasive alien species)
Low Threat
Inside site
, Widespread(15-50%)
Outside site
Challenges include for example predation by feral pigs and Bracken Fern competing with native vegetation (e.g. Earp, 2011, State Party of Mexico, 2013). Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is documented to be an agent of land use change causing many agricultural spaces to be abandoned (e.g. Earp, 2011; Schneider 2004). Reported feral and non-native vertebrate species include pigs, cattle, turkeys and Tilapia (State Party of Mexico, 2013).
Logging/ Wood Harvesting, Other Biological Resource Use
(Uncontrolled resource use in and around the site)
High Threat
Inside site
, Scattered(5-15%)
Outside site
Threats originate from human activities driven mainly by population grow and development. Those include forest fires, illegal logging and deforestation, subsistence hunting and poaching, slash and burn agriculture.

Widespread uncontrolled extraction of timber and non-timber forest products, including for illegal trade in plants, wildlife and wildlife derivates with multiple direct and indirect effects on the ecosystem and its natural values (e.g. IUCN, 2014; State Party of Mexico, 2013; Garcia-Frapolli et al., 2009; TNC n.d.). However, the most significant threats come from forest fires and deforestation. A recent analysis (2017) of satellite photographs conducted by OPI Analytics estimated that between 2014 and 2016 illegal logging deforested around 1 km² in Calakmul, mainly of precious woods granadillo (Platymiscium yucatanum) and ciricote (Cordia dodecandra).
The Mexican Government also reported that in May 2017 illegal wood (granadillo and ciricote) was seized in the Reserve by the federal Environmental Gendarmery (https://www.gob.mx/conanp/prensa/gendarmeria-da-golpe-contra-la-tala-ilegal-en-calakmul). These reports indicate that illegal logging persist in the Reserve.
Logging/ Wood Harvesting
(Broader landscape dynamics)
High Threat
Outside site
Well-documented ongoing and intensified forest loss and degradation in the Maya Forest is impacting on the overall integrity of the natural resources in the region, including the World Heritage site. This is partially driven by population growth, migration and improved access through improving road infrastructure (e.g. State Party of Mexico, 2013; Garcia-Frapolli et al. 2009; TNC n.d., Ericson et al., 1999). The land use change coincides with a poor boundary design and zonation.
Very High Threat
In light of the publicly announced plans to promote tourism following World Heritage inscription, there is serious concern about the direct and indirect impacts of such development. New access and visitor infrastructure, increased water demand, waste and waste water management all would pose new challenges in the site which today receives very limited numbers of tourists.
Temperature extremes
(Anticipated effects of climate change)
High Threat
Inside site
, Throughout(>50%)
Outside site
Increasing risk of droughts and occurrence of hurricanes may exceed the resilience of the system despite adaptations to these natural disturbance factors. Monitoring of "aguadas" (water bodies within the site) and of certain species using them is being undertaken to use as an indicator of climate change impacts in the area (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Tourism/ visitors/ recreation
(Major tourism development plans)
Very High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
While current visitation is modest due to the location and limited access and facilities, highest level political statements and press releases leave no doubt about plans to promote tourism. This includes investments in access infrastructure and local tourism infrastructure. Tourism is closely related to the visit of the archaeological zone, but there are also places close to the road, such as camps, interpretive trails, and observation towers, which are important for the economic development of towns near the Reserve (State Party of Mexico 2016). High concerns are associated with potential impacts on the site of the large-sclae Tren Maya project, which would span across the Yucatan Peninsula and would involve significant new infrastructure development. However, the current status of the project overall and of specific plans in the Calakmul area are unclear.
Roads/ Railroads, Utility / Service Lines
(Major regional and national infrastructure planning projects)
High Threat
Inside site
, Extent of threat not known
Outside site
There exist regional plans to improve road infrastructure, including access to the Petén region of Guatemala under the Mesoamerica Project, formerly known as Plan Puebla Panama (www.proyectomesoamerica.org/). Regional infrastructure plans include plans for power lines and communication infrastructure under. One road crosses the buffer zone of the property. In 2015, some 6,186 vehicles entered the Reserve (State Party of Mexico, 2016).
Calakmul benefits from its relatively central position within the larger Maya Forest and the de facto buffering functions through various large protected areas, including in Guatemala to the South. Ongoing forest loss and degradation in the wider region continue to pose a risk to long term conservation and landscape connectivity. This includes forest fires, illegal logging and longstanding infrastructure plans at the regional level and more recent plans to invest in tourism development. Tourism development comes with opportunities, but also raises important management questions, including as regards access roads and water and waste management. Within the World Heritage site and its buffer zone, there are ongoing strong concerns about uncontrolled use, questions around zonation and boundary design and a lack of boundary demarcation. Natural disturbance factors such as fire and hurricanes are expected to result in stronger impacts as a function of anticipated climate change.
Management system
Some Concern
This mixed World Heritage sites is managed by CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas), focused on its natural values, and INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) responsible for the cultural heritage (World Heritage Committee, 2014). Initially inscribed as a cultural site only, it was subsequently significantly extended and re-nominated as a mixed site in 2014. The extended World Heritage site and its buffer zone now overlap fully with the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve (World Heritage Committee, 2014). Already at the time of this extension, concerns have been expressed regarding the lack of cooperation between the two management agencies (CONANP and INAH) (World Heritage Committee, 2014). Cooperation has recently been strengthened, including through joint development of a new Management Plan for the mixed site (State Party of Mexico, 2019). It is however unclear if the new Management Plan has since been finalized and has entered into force.
Effectiveness of management system
Some Concern
A lack of a system in place for assessing management effectiveness hsa previously been noted (IUCN, 2013).
The National Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) was working on an evaluation of the effectiveness of all or most federal protected areas, through its Sistema de Informacion, Monitoreo y Evaluacion para la Conservacion (SIMEC, https://simec.conanp.gob.mx/evaluacion, 2017). However, specific results for this site could not be found.
Boundaries
Some Concern
A function of land tenure and administrative boundaries, there is a longstanding and consistent documentation of shortcomings of both the boundary design and the zonation (e.g. Galindo-Leal, 1988). In addition, the boundaries are not demarcated. The buffer zone design seems only partially compatible with the basic functions of buffer zones (World Heritage Committee, 2014). As part of the preparation of a new Management Plan for the World Heritage site, it's zones have been redefined to address some of these concerns (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Integration into regional and national planning systems
Some Concern
Lack of coherence of sector policies at the national level and across the international boundaries is widely recognized as ongoing key challenge. Furthermore, while cooperation between CONANP and INAH, responsible for the management of natural and cultural elements of this site, has improved with regards to the management of this site (State Party of Mexico, 2019), it is unclear how this translates into broader relevant sectoral programmes and their application.
Relationships with local people
Some Concern
The resource use conflicts with mostly poor local communities since the establishment of the protected area are well documented (e.g. Gaudry Sada, 2013; García-Frapolli et al., 2009; Andrews, 2006; Galindo-Leal, 1988). Various projects have been developed by CONANP and other organizations to promote sustainable use of resources of the broader Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and surrounding areas. Following the re-design of its zonation, the buffer zone of the site now has a Traditional Use zone and a Zone of Sustainable Use of Ecosystems (State Party of Mexico, 2019). Some programmes have also been developed by CONANP to involve local communities in monitoring and surveillance activities (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
 
Legal framework
Mostly Effective
The extended world Heritage site together with its buffer zone coincide with the boundaries of Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, established in 1989 as a Natural Protected Area. Additional legal protection also exists for the archaeological monuments within the site (World Heritage Committee, 2018).
Law enforcement
Data Deficient
While no information is available about the efficiency of law enforcement at the level of the World Heritage site, various surveillance and monitoring activities exist in the broader Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, including those aimed at involving local communities into the management of the site (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Implementation of Committee decisions and recommendations
Mostly Effective
The 2014 inscription decision (38COM 8B.16) included a number of requests and additionally encouraged defined conservation activities. Subsequently a number of request have been made further, including issues relating to a Special Project specifically for the property under the newly signed cooperation agreement between CONANP and INAH; updating and reinforcement of legal protection for the extended property as a mixed site; issues related to the zonation of the site and its boundaries; and the completion and approval of the Integrated Management Plan for the mixed site (World Heritage Committee, 2016; 2018). Certain progress has been achieved in addressing some of these requests, particularly what concerns collaboration between CONANP and INAH and development of a new Management Plan for the mixed site (State Party of Mexico, 2019). However, it is unclear if the Management Plan has by now been finalized and has entered into force.
 
Sustainable use
Some Concern
Following the re-design of its zonation, the buffer zone of the site now has a Traditional Use zone and a Zone of Sustainable Use of Ecosystems where certain activities are allowed (State Party of Mexico, 2019). However, it is unclear how sustainable these activities are as certain areas of the broader Calakmul Biosphere Reserve are under significant pressure from human activities (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Sustainable finance
Mostly Effective
The Calakmul Biosphere Reserve receives annual budgets from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas which covers the main operational costs. The site also receives grants for some community programmes. Additional funding comes from the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature and the GEF (Nomination file, 2013). Over the last few years, there have been several projects which support the management of the Reserve, as well as the local communities and NGOs, and that have been implemented with resources from an alliance between the World Wildlife Fund – Mexico and the Carlos Slim Foundation.
Staff capacity, training, and development
Mostly Effective
While no current figures on the number of staff involved in the management of the site and the sufficiency of it is available, it appears that various training activities and programmes exist both for the technical staff and for local communities to engage them into different management aspects (surveillance and monitoring, fire management) (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Education and interpretation programs
Mostly Effective
Some education and interpretation programmes and facilities have been developed by CONANP, including a Culture for Conservation Center (CCC) (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Tourism and visitation management
Mostly Effective
While currently of secondary importance due to low visitation, increasing numbers of visitors will require considerable preparation and investment. Tourism is managed at the level of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, with further regulations in place of the Archaeological Zone of Calakmul (State Party of Mexico, 2019). In 2019, the number of tourists visiting the Biosphere Reserve reached about 25,000 a year, which was considered manageable and not creating negative impacts on the site (State Party of Mexico, 2019). While tourism has dropped significantly throughout the world as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it will need to be seen if visitation can continue to be managed effectively, once the numbers increase again.
Monitoring
Some Concern
Selective monitoring is being undertaken, but there is no comprehensive monitoring framework specifically for the World Heritage site (IUCN, 2013). Different programmes have been developed by CONANP to involve local communities in monitoring activities in the broader Calakmul Biosphere Resever. Training for the use of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) was organized in 2019 (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Research
Mostly Effective
Considerable research has been carried out by national and international institutions in the site. ECOSUR in particular has generated a wealth of information from both the natural and social sciences, most of it publicly available. The alliance WWF-Mexico and Carlos Slim Foundation has been supporting several research and conservation projects since 2009 (www.wwf.org.mx). A number of research acitivities are ongoing to study the importance of connectivity corridors in the area for several species (e.g. Carillo et al., 2019). 
The area has long benefited from its remoteness and limited infrastructure in addition to a high degree of natural protection from the vast surrounding forest areas. The formal protection of the area as a Natural Protected Area back in 1989 was a key step in countering unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and poorly adapted land use. The drastic policy shift prevented the cultural and natural heritage from exploitation while also leading to poorly communicated and negotiated exclusion of local communities from traditionally used resources. Management planning is well-structured but requires consolidated implementation and adequate resources. One particular concern is the insufficient coordination between agencies in charge of cultural and natural heritage (INAH and CONANP), respectively. However, certain progress has been achieved in this area, including through joint development of new Management Plan for the site.
Assessment of the effectiveness of protection and management in addressing threats outside the site
Data Deficient
Data deficient
World Heritage values

Major and highly valuable remnant of a vast human-environment forest system

High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
Increasing pressure on natural resources in the broader area has been of concern for many years (García-Frapolli et al., 2009; Andrews, 2006; Galindo-Leal, 1988; TNC, n.d.). Recurrent forest fires represent a serious concern, as well as illegal logging (La Prensa, 2017).

Rare species and high species richness

High Concern
Trend
Stable
Ongoing pressure on wildlife through poaching and illicit trade in species and derivates hsa been of concern (State Party of Mexico, 2013; TNC, n.d.). On the other hand, a number of recent studies show that Calakmul remains one of the most important areas of the Maya Forest for conservation of many species, such as for example the Baird's tapir (Naranjo, 2018). A monitoring programme is being undertaken to monitor the status of jaguar in Calakmul (State Party of Mexico, 2019).
Assessment of the current state and trend of World Heritage values
High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
The fast and ongoing land use changes and the loss and degradation of the wider Maya Forest undoubtedly have further direct and indirect impacts on the World Heritage site. While still impressive, the renowned wildlife populations of Calakmul face increasing pressure from poaching, trade and increasing fragmentation of their habitat. Recurrent forest fires and illegal logging are also of concern. On the other hand, a number of recent studies show that Calakmul remains one of the most important areas of the Maya Forest for conservation of many species, such as for example the Baird's tapir.
Assessment of the current state and trend of other important biodiversity values
High Concern
Trend
Deteriorating
There are no documented hints at major threats to the geological features and values of the site. However, the site’s connectivity within a wider region has been deteriorating.

Additional information

Water provision (importance for water quantity and quality)
The forests of Calakmul are an integral part of the hydrological system that reduces the risk of flooding. It is also an important area for water recharging for the whole Yucatan Peninsula, a key factor in the development of the Maya Culture in the Ancient City of Calakmul and its surroundings (World Heritage Committee, 2014).
Importance for research
Given the widespread transformation and degradation of the Maya Forest, relatively large areas with a limited direct human footprint are an increasingly scarce scientific resource.
Outdoor recreation and tourism
Calakmul has high touristic potential based on both its cultural and natural wealth. The distribution of benefits – and costs – depends on the planning and implementation of tourism development.
Carbon sequestration
Calakmul Biosphere Reserve lies in the most important tropical forest region in North America, protects the largest tropical forest in Mexico, including part of the Maya Forest and forms part of the Mesoamerican biological corridor. It is the largest forest mass in Mexico and, together with the forests of Guatemala and Belize, the second largest remnant forest left in Latin America after the Amazon. The Calakmul-Sian Ka`an corridor connects two of the most important biosphere reserves in Mexican tropic, and its forests are one of the most important carbon sinks in Mexico.
Factors negatively affecting provision of this benefit
Climate change
Impact level - High
Trend - Continuing
Overexploitation
Impact level - High
Trend - Continuing
Habitat change
Impact level - High
Trend - Continuing
The Calakmul-Sian Ka`an corridor connects two of the most important biosphere reserves in the Mexican tropic, and their forests are one of the most important carbon sinks for the country. While more recent efforts put more focus on conservation, the effective implementation remains to be consolidated. The contemporary dilemma boils down to the common need to balance conservation with use. This includes the planned promotion of tourism development.
More than 20,000 people live in ejidos (communal land) in and around Calakmul and depend on the forest for their livelihoods. The quality of life for these communities has deteriorated due to threats to the forest such as unsustainable ranching, road construction, illegal hunting, illegal logging, forest fires, and poorly planned tourism development.
Organization Brief description of Active Projects Website
1 GIZ (formerly GTZ), KfW and “Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo (CCAD)” Regional progrmme “Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Selva Maya” operating in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Activities in Mexico build on earlier project “Management of Natural Resources and Sustainable Regional Development in Southeast Mexico, (PROSURESTE)”.
www.giz.de/en/worldwide/13435.html
2 Mesomerican Biological Corridor Major regional conservation initiative by 8 countries formalized in 1997 based on even earlier discussions (“Paseo Pantera”) with many activities in Campeche and specifically in Calakmul. This includes a wealth of information on the corridor between Calakmul and Sian Ka’an, the World Heritage property in the neighboring state of Quintana Roo.
www.biomeso.net; www.biodiversidad.gob.mx/corredor/corredorbiomeso.html
3 El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) Public research institution (natural and social sciences) with a focus on sustainable development in Southern Mexico. Numerous past and current research projects in and around Calakmul, documented in publicly accessible database.
www.ecosur.mx
4 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB or BID) According to the nomination dossier there was a Project on “Management Promotion of the Trinational Ecosystem of the Maya Tropical Forest (Mexico-Belize-Guatemala)”, a cooperation based on 2005 trilateral MoU between Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Status and results are not specified.
www.iadb.org
5 Alianza WWF-Fundacion Carlos Slim Many projects focusing on consolidating community reserves for sustainable forest management, developing sustainable economic alternatives and employment for local communities, monitoring endangered and threatened species, updating the management plans of community reserves, etc.
www.wwf.org.mx

References

References
1
Andrews, J.M., 2006. Shifts of strategies and focus of the conservation efforts of PRONATURA on the Yucatan Peninsula: a personal history. Landscape and Urban Planning 74: 193–203.
2
BirdLife International. 2012. Important Bird Areas factsheet: Maya-Lacandon. www.birdlife.org
3
Bray, D.B., Duran, E., Ramos, V.H., Mas, J.F., Velazquez, A., McNab, R.B., Barry, D., Radachowsky, J. 2008. Tropical Deforestation, Community Forests, and Protected Areas in the Maya Forest. Ecology and Society 13 (2): 56. www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol13/iss2/art56/
4
Briceño-Méndez, M., E.J. Naranjo, S. Mandujano, M. Altricher and R. Reyna-Hurtado . 2106. Responses of two sympatric species of peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Pecari tajacu) to hunting in Calakmul, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science 9: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1940082916667331
5
Carrillo, N., Naranjo, E. J., Cortina-Villar, S., Reyna-Hurtado, R., & Mendoza, E. 2019. Measuring Landscape Connectivity for Baird’s Tapir Conservation in Fragmented Areas of Calakmul, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science, 12, DOI: 10.1177/1940082919834148.
6
Castillo, M.A. 2003. The Mexico-Guatemala Border: New Controls on Transborder Migrations in View of Recent Integration Schemes? FRONTERA NORTE 15(29): 35-64
7
Chavez, C, G. Ceballos and M. Amin. 2006. Ecología poblacional del jaguar y sus implicaciones para la conservación en la península de Yucatán. Pp. 91-100. In: Ceballos, G., C. Chavez, R. List and H. Zarza (eds). Conservacion y Manejo del Jaguar en México: Estudios de Caso y Perspectivas. Conabio, Alianza WWF-Telcel, UNAM, México.
8
Chowdhury, R.R. 2006. Landscape change in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico: Modeling the driving forces of smallholder deforestation in land parcels. Applied Geography 26: 129–152.
9
Conservation International. 2013. Mesoamerica. Hotspot description. www.conservation.org/where/priority_areas/hotspots/north_ce…
10
Earp, C. 2011. Characterizing Invasive Species: The Case of Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Sian Ka’an-Calakmul, Mexico. Master’s Thesis. The State University of New Jersey.
11
Ericson J., Freudenberger, M.S., Boege, E. 1999. Population Dynamics, Migration, and the Future of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. Occasional Paper No. 1 Program on Population and Sustainable Development (PSD). American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
12
Galindo-Leal, C. 1988. Diseño de reservas: el “mal congénito” de Calakmul. Biodiversitas 4(17): 9-15.
13
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