The Ecochavos project seeks to involve young people in practical conservation measures, familiarising them with the role of ecosystems and biodiversity.
Photo: © giz


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The giz-supported Ecochavos project in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Orientale seeks to raise environmental awareness in a region that is one day to become a vast ecological corridor.

Connecting two subcontinents, Central America acts both as a gigantic bridge and a destination for migratory species. The Monarch butterfly, an important pollinator, comes down all the way from Canada to spend the winter in areas like Mexico’s Sierra Madre Orientale, which is also home to large predators like the jaguar, with a hunting zone of up to 50 square miles. However, Mexico is relatively densely populated, and much of it is industrialised. This has resulted in a fragmentation of natural landscapes, also in the Sierra Madre Orientale, which is home to around 650 endangered species.

To link up protected areas in the region, the Ecological Corridor of the Sierra Madre (CESMO) was conceived by Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) 15 years ago. Supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (giz), CESMO will ultimately also connect a number of biosphere reserves, landscapes designated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as special areas to foster the sustainable use of land and natural resources while safeguarding biodiversity.

Having already introduced programmes on the environment in their curricula in 2005, secondary school colleges in the area’s Sierra Gorda biosphere reserve then embarked on a new scheme to spread awareness of ecosystem services and the importance of biodiversity throughout the Sierra Madre Orientale.

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