Actions of the community forestry brigades of Reforestamos Mexico
22 febrero, 2024
By Andrea Álvarez and Juan Esteban Torres, Geographic Information Systems at Reforestamos Mexico.
The erroneous implementation of some practices in agriculture, livestock and urban and tourism development, is one of the main causes related to the loss of tree cover, due to the increase in population that demands food production and living spaces in urban areas. One of the ecosystem services provided by tree cover is temperature regulation and increased infiltration and reduced surface water runoff during the rainy season.
The Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAGUA) in conjunction with the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) through the Annual Climate Report, mentioned that during 2023 there was a very marked delay in the onset of the rainy season, in addition to the fact that, according to their records, it was the driest year ever.
Considering that the year 2023 was very warm and with little precipitation, it is expected to increase the risk of forest fires in larger areas, since if the temperature increases, the humidity of the vegetation decreases making it more available to burn and spread forest fires.
According to the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) the area affected by fires has increased in the last 3 years; during 2023, 1,047,492.52 hectares were affected, distributed in 7,611 fires nationwide.
As mentioned above, the loss of vegetation cover, the increase in temperature and the decrease in precipitation create the conditions for fires to become more extreme, that is, when vegetation is lost, the capacity to regulate temperature is reduced and more water is lost through evaporation and runoff, becoming a complex cycle to solve.
Hence the importance of preventing forest fires through actions and awareness campaigns on fire management in forest and agricultural areas. From the simplest actions such as following the instructions on how to put out a campfire correctly, or signaling not to throw cigarette butts, to the most complex ones such as the application of the “NOM-015-SEMARNAT/SADER-2022 that establishes the technical specifications for fire use methods in forest, temporary forest, preferably forest, agricultural and adjacent lands”, as well as strengthening the capacities of the community forest brigades for the correct implementation of firebreaks and even prescribed burns.
Reforestamos México carries out different activities related to forest fire prevention. For example, on the edges of the reforestations, firebreaks are made, which consists of removing the combustible material until it reaches the mineral soil (earth), this in order to cut the continuity of the fuel and the advance of the fire is stopped when there is no more vegetation to burn and thus safeguard the newly planted trees.
Other forest fire prevention activities include surveillance patrols by the forestry brigades to identify fires that are just starting. Training is also arranged for them to acquire knowledge of fire management, since prevention activities are not only carried out during the dry season.
When the forestry brigades have sufficient specialized technical and terrain knowledge, they can collaborate as a support brigade to fight forest fires, in coordination with CONAFOR and the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP).
Despite efforts to prevent fires, sometimes they cannot be controlled immediately and part of the vegetation may be lost. Therefore, the forestry brigades manage post-fire fuels in order to distribute them evenly and strategically so that in the event that the area is affected by another forest fire, it will not be so affected by the high temperatures that are generated.
Reforestamos Mexico plans activities to implement throughout the year with the help of the community forestry brigades, both in the reforestation season (rainy season) and in the dry season. You can support these actions with your donation here or through corporate volunteering. If you want your employees to live this experience, please write to email@example.com.
- Cerano-Paredes et al 2015 https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-92002015000100005&script=sci_arttext
- Cerano-Paredes at al 2016 https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0717-92002016000200017&script=sci_arttext
- Cisneros-González, Zuñiga-Vásquez y Pompa-García, 2018 https://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?pid=S1405-04712018000300203&script=sci_arttext