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Monte Mojino Reserve is located within the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range that runs the length of most of northern Mexico. Since 2004, Rainforest Trust has been working to expand this reserve through strategic land acquisitions in partnership with Naturaleza y Cultura Sierra Madre. The primary habitat is tropical dry forest, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world and only 5 percent of which is legally protected. This region is exactly where the nearctic biodiversity region meets the neotropical region. As such, this area contains elements that are characteristic of both regions, including both desert and tropical species. The Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise (Gopherus evgoodei) was discovered in the reserve in 2016. The Endangered Lilac-crowned Amazon is an obligated cavity nester, and Alamos holds one of the highest levels of habitat for cavity-nesting species in Mexico, with its mature forest and large trees. While the conservation value of this reserve has been recognized, nearby land is still being used for cattle grazing, wood extraction and illegal hunting.
Rainforest Trust and its local partner Naturaleza y Cultura Sierra Madre seek $170,845 to purchase 1,299 acres of land to expand the Monte Mojino Reserve. The reserve is located inside of a federally protected area. However, land within the protected area is privately owned and the protections are weak, meaning that activities such as charcoal production, mining, cattle ranching and other extractive activities are allowed with government permits on individually owned pieces of land. Purchasing private property and adding it to the reserve provides a much higher level of enforced protection and creates contiguous habitat for the unique species located in this area.
Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain Range, Northern Mexico
Lilac-crowned Amazon Parrot (EN), Virgin’s Palm (EN), Yaqui Catfish (EN), Goode’s Thornscrub Tortoise (NE)
Tropical dry forest, nearctic-neotropical ecotome
Cattle ranching, charcoal production, mining, wood extraction, illegal hunting
Expand the Monte Mojino Reserve to prevent extractive activities
Naturaleza y Cultura Sierra Madre
Price per Acre:
Total Carbon Storage (Mt CO2):
Monte Mojino Reserve is extensively biodiverse, and it provides habitat to one of the rarest cycad species with an estimated worldwide population size of only 500-1,000 individuals, all occurring in northwestern Mexico.
The cycad, called Virgin's Palm, is threatened by land conversion and plant extraction for gardens and collections. The reserve is also home to the Lilac-crowned Amazon, a brightly colored bird that faces threat from capture due to domestic and international wildlife trade. Poaching of this bird is most common outside of nature reserves where they are unprotected. The Lilac-crowned Amazon is also threatened by deforestation, which leads to a reduction in available breeding sites and food availability. The Goode's Thornscrub Tortoise (Gopherus evgoodei) was discovered within the reserve, and this expansion will preserve key habitat for the species.
One of the challenges facing conservation in this area is cattle ranching. Cattle ranching is a deeply ingrained cultural component, which makes the idea of not “utilizing the land” inconceivable for many of the people nearby Monte Mojino Reserve.
Rainforest Trust’s partner engages the community in a continuous process of encouraging the ranchers to become involved in conservation actions while seeking ways for them to benefit from the conservation work they are doing. Since many of the properties that compose the reserve were used for cattle grazing, there are small patches of exotic grasses that prevent the natural regeneration of the secondary forest. These patches of grass are a threat to the reserve, as they become fuel for wildfires during the dry season. Despite carrying on yearly wildfire prevention measures, these patches of grass remain a challenge. Climate change is an added stressor to this habitat, exacerbating the wildfire season’s duration and severity in the region.
There are no communities inside the Monte Mojino Reserve, and the current owners of the land will vacate the property after its sale.
The nearest community is El Sabinito Sur (approximately 2km away). The partner’s full-time park rangers live in El Sabinito Sur, and this community participates in our environmental education program for children and the artisan cooperative for women. Other residents of the community are hired to work on projects within the reserve or to guide visiting researchers. By providing education and work opportunities for people within this community, the partner has been able to earn their trust and support. The neighboring ranches around the reserve are inhabited by cattle ranchers, and the partner’s staff members have cultivated good relationships with all of them.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
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