Fundación Mexicana del Árbol A.C.

Establishment and Management of the Mexican National Arboretum

Lead Organization

Fundación Mexicana del Árbol A.C.

Texcoco, Estado de México, Mexico

http://www.fundamexarbol.org.mx

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

There are over 60,000 tree species in the world and many of them are threatened with extinction [3,4]. Mexico is a megadiverse country that has more than 3,500 native tree species [6,7,8]. Over 500 species are used by industry to provide solid wood, extracts, medicine and food. In the last century, hundreds of these species have become endangered due to habitat loss by forest clearance, over-exploitation, excessive population growth and climate change. We propose the establishment of a National Arboretum System to preserve the maximum number of extant tree species, prevent the loss of the original gene pool and provide germplasm to future generations in Latin America. The goals of the National Arboretum are to prevent ecocide and severe genetic loss in the next decade by changing people's mindsets by providing them with educational resources and to generate jobs for populations near the Arboretum sites.

Problem Statement

The land ownership in Mexico is communal farmland (70%), private (25%) and government (5%). Significant portions of the communal lands were forests that were clearcut to plant crops and raise domestic animals. The elimination of trees destroyed the habitat of many species and they became endangered. Challenges in species conservation include: species identification in the field, phenology, water rights, fertility and seed supply, and a sound environmental education for forest farmers. The world is impacted by deforestation and many species soon may reach extinction before they are investigated. The National Parks and Natural Protected Areas have failed forest conservation because most of them are located in communal land without true local commitment. The alteration of habitats is the main reason why tree species are declining both in number of trees and whole populations.Most tree species are useful to mankind. Our proposal is to establish at least 30 planting sites with 50-100 different tree species. The species will be planted in their own habitat to ensure adaptability and minimize tree maintenance. Each planting site will support 20 trees of each species that are healthy and in full reproduction. These planting sites will be located in the forest land with trees, they will be monitored and verified data will be uploaded to a digital platform so that users can view detailed records.This small sample of trees will form the genetic basis of a species and can serve as a source of germplasm for rescue and reintroduction to the forests.

Solution Overview

The general public in Mexico is uneducated on the sustainable use of forests. Millions of people live near these ecosystems and future generations will be deprived of the plant species that they are currently losing.The National Arboretum System would include most of Mexico’s ecosystems and many species can overlap its distribution among them.In the first year, we will locate the species, collect the seed, produce the plants for planting the following year. 500-1000 species will be planted per year from the second year on. Local people will be hired to locate the species, collect their seeds, and produce the plants in each temporary nursery established for the project. Botanists, foresters, nurserymen, and tree climbers will also be hired to collect botanical samples and seeds at the appropriate time. Over a five-year program the goal of preserving 2000 species would have a great impact on the local people because many are going to be involved in the process of field work.Initially, the mexican population will be the primary benefactor of this project. Over time, this initiative will help produce certified seed for reforestation initiatives in Latin America, particularly those tropical hardwood species with wider distribution in other countries farther south. We will know whether the project is progressing by evaluating the steps of seed collection and production of seedlings and then recording the survival and growth in the planting sites. This Project will help prevent the extinction of hundreds of plants in a relatively short biological time frame.

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