Since publishing our last report, we were able to expand our network of private reserves, adding 100 hectares in the Cerro Prieto located at the far north of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. This wouldn’t be possible without your support and that of the World Land Trust (UK). The added surface area used to be one of the two farms that are located within the reserve with logging and cattle grazing activities, making its acquisition was important to terminate activities that destroy the forest. We purchased the farm from Mr. César González Rubio, legal owner who delivered and signed documents that satisfied both parties.
Furthermore, Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, Head of the Conservation Land Program and Nature Photographer, was once again contacted by Dr. José Antonio Vázquez, a taxonomist and botanist from the University of Guadalajara. Roberto sent him more photos as requested and after careful revision, Dr. Vázquez confirmed that this magnolia is indeed a third new species that has only be found in two canyons of the Joya Verde Reserve. Its protection depends on effective management, made possible by donations through Global Giving.
To provide Dr. Vázquez with more photos of the trees in their habitat, as well as with cones and fruits of magnolia that would enable him and his team to complete the scientific description and publish the article, a reconnaissance tour was organized with our park ranger, Abel Reséndiz. Traces of pumas, temazate deer, and armadillos were found on the trail, which filled us with joy since confirming we acted correctly when we acquired the estates that make up the Private Reserve, which would have otherwise been degraded by illegal logging. The new species of magnolia was named Magnolia sierragordaensis.
On the more negative note, a dry and abnormally warm winter brought with it forest fires that resulted from the old practice of burning the waste from harests rather than reintegrating the organic material into their soils. Two fires that took place one after the other, threatened the reserve of the Arenitas. Thankfully, our ranger Leonel Espino and his team were able to extinguish them before they gained strength and a light rain helped.
Finally, during the first week of March we were honored to host two distinguished visitors in the Sierra Gorda. Pavan Sukhdev, environmental economist and Study Leader of TEEB, and Judith D. Schwartz, author of the book Cows Save the Planet. We took them to the Joya de Hielo Reserve that houses an ancient and well-preserved cloud forest. The hike was a testimony to the diversity of species in Sierra Gorda´s forests. They observed the benefits of livestock removal from such a delicate ecosystem, including the abundant regeneration of magnolias such as Magnolia rzedowskyana and Magnolia pedrazae that are threatened and micro-endemic.
Thank you for your donations and interest in our on-going conservation activities.
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