Habitat Destruction in Mexico

Paul Cherubini cherubini at mindspring.com
Thu May 18 20:57:12 EDT 2000

Chris J. Durden wrote:
> Paul,
> Go see for yourself what is happening and form your own opinions from
> first hand observations. Further elaboration does not belong on leps-l.
> ......Chris

I was just following up on Chuck Vaughn's original inquiry
which was:

"Maybe there are a few on this list familiar with Mexico. What is going
on down there? This looks like habitat destruction on a mass scale."

Chris, yesturday, you explained to the list that the Mexican government program
has resettled many thousands of tropical farmers to the mountains of
northern Mexico where they practice "classic slash and burn agriculture"
- "the burning of forest to generate ash, to fertilize land to grow corn for 
2 or 3 years".

Then you expressed your concern that this burning will cause:

 - "The world will lose undescribed species from these mountains." 
 - "Air pollution will get worse in parts of the US."
 - "Rainfall in the Eastern US will decline as the evaporative properties
    of the vegetation of the Sierra Madre decline." 

Finally you hinted US scientists or the US government should step in
when you said:

- "Maybe the Union of Concerned Scientists can help us."
- "we must rely upon the State Department to further our interests."

My whole point is that when I review the aerial photos I have taken
of the montane forests of NW Mexico I see a much more pristine 
situation than what we have in our own coniferous forests such as those 
in California and the Pacific Northwest.  Fly over the Oregon and
Washington Cascades or Coast Range Mountains, for example, and ones
sees a landscape scarred with literally thousands of clear cuts. And 
where the forest is intact, such tracts are often on a 40 year clear cut cycle.

My rant is that I find it hypocritical for us Americans to relentlessly point
a finger of shame at the Mexican people and government when what we
do with our own forests seems far worse. And unlike Mexico, we do not cut
down the forest to grow food in order to survive, but merely to
make products that support our materialistic lifestyle. 

Paul Cherubini

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