In what is turning out to be a banner green year for the Lake Chapala region, local reforestation projects have kicked into high gear throughout the summer months.
In the town of Mezcala, a seemingly modest tree planting program sponsored by private citizens stands out for its unique approach.
“Our ideal is the Mayan philosophy of returning something of what life and nature give to us,” says Ana Romano Miramontes, who with husband Jorge Angel Santana turned their nearby country estate into a nursery where they are raising hundreds of trees from seed.
Since August 1 the couple has donated 120 mature flowering trees to revive nature along Mezcala’s Malecón, Calzada Independencia, the broad divided boulevard leading from the highway to the center of town, and various other points.
The planting and future care of Mezcala’s new urban forest is in the hands of town administrator Heriberto Pérez González and the crew of a dozen men and women assigned to the state’s Ocupate temporary employment program.
The predominant species are primavera and rosa morada – yellow and pink blossom varieties of the Tabebuia genus – along with a small number of ceiba, the beautiful sacred tree of the Maya. All of the trees are eight years old, standing at least 2.5 meters tall with strong trunks and foliage, which strengthens their chances of survival.
The Mezcala project complements the ambitious 2016 reforestation program launched by Jalisco’s environment ministry, Semadet, and the National Forestry Commission, Conafor, aimed at fighting climate change and ecosystem degradation through the introduction of 8.4 million trees statewide. It is operating with an investment of 25 million pesos and manpower provided by government agencies, business enterprises, NGOs and ordinary citizens. The effort includes planting 80,000 trees in seven coastal municipalities that were devastated by last year’s Hurricane Patricia.
On the local front, Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos has set a record in sheer numbers, with 120,000 trees, palms and shrubs planted throughout the municipality. Jocotepec commemorated World Environment Day in June with a campaign to plant 5,000 trees on the grounds of sporting complexes and the Malecón public gardens and private homes.
The Chapala government set a goal of planting 20,000 trees during the rainy season, counting on logistical support from Semadet and Conafor. Early in the season around 200 saplings were put into the ground at the Cristiania Park and Ajijic.
Massive reforestation for El Jaguey, an area comprised of private and communal lands set between the Libramiento and the Sierra del Travesaño, initiated last month with the planting of 5,000 trees. About 10,000 more will be added this Saturday and Sunday when 3,000 employees of Walmart and Hershey’s de Mexico will be brought in to lend a hand.
Reforestation is a key environmental protection tactic that helps recharge underground aquifers, reduce control soil erosion and air pollution, conserve biodiversity, and combat global warming.