As part of the Yucatan Peninsula, the state of Campeche holds a variety of biodiversity in its territory, accounting for 1250 species of plants, 24 of them endemic. Following their State Development Plan 2015-2021 and its new biodiversity conservation strategy, the Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat (SEMARNATCAM) launched on May of 2016 a State Executive Agreement in which they established new measures for preservation, protection and monitoring of tree species according to their environmental, historical and high landscape or cultural value.
Trees have always been considered a fundamental element in the history of Campeche, for its ceremonial and mystic value since the time of the mayans and becoming a reference of Campeche’s landscape. Trees are known for giving a number of benefits to the conservation of the environment, such as climate change regulation due to their high carbon storage capacity and temperature regulation; battling erosion and desertification helping to stabilize the soil and preventing landslides; and also, protecting water bodies and keeping the hydrological cycle stable and healthy. Taking into account these benefits the State Executive Agreement has decided to catalogue the trees according to the following categories:
- Trees with environmental value: those which importance relies on their biological processes and the benefits they give to the ecosystems in which they are found, such as habitat, food or reproduction of other species.
- Trees with historical value: those which are related to historical events of local, regional, state or national importance
- Trees with landscape value: those that by their extraordinary characteristics, singularity or value in the environment where its located represent a natural heritage of incalculable value and beauty
- Trees with cultural value: those that represent some sense of attachment, tradition or identity value to the community and/or its residents.
On this sense, the first steps taken by SEMARNATCAM were visiting 21 localities from six municipalities of the State of Campeche: Calkiní Champotón, Hecelchakán, Holpechén, San Francisco de Campeche and Tenabo in which 70 trees from 31 species where identified to catalogue them and include them in their Protection Program. The first three species that will receive this new categorization are one pich (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), one monkey pod (Samanea Saman) located in the Bolonchén community of Hopelchen and one alamo (Ficus cotinifolia) located in Campeche’s state capital, San Francisco de Campeche.
Each new designation of species will be engraved in an aluminum plate, embedded in a polished cement base with marble simulation tiles, with a cost of 220 American dollars ($ 4176.00 Mexican pesos) which include materials and hand labor for placement. To finance the cost of this plates SEMARNATCAM has launched the “Adopt an emblematic tree” campaign, in which they call for voluntary donations in order to identify more tree species and keep the Protection Program going. These actions aim to be a social benefit for the coming generations and for the conservation of Campeche’s rich biodiversity and their natural heritage.