The Desierto de los Leones Forest: Emblem of Conservation in Mexico
13 junio, 2023
By Ernesto Herrera Guerra, CEO at Reforestamos México
The Desierto de los Leones (Desert of the Lions) is a marvelous forest of great biological, environmental, ecological, cultural, and recreational value located southwest of the Valley of Mexico basin, within the Álvaro Obregón and Cuajimalpa de Morelos boroughs. It represents one of the most important conservation areas as it provides water resources to the residents of Mexico City.
The Desierto de los Leones Forest is the first National Park designated in Mexico, making it an emblem of conservation in our country. Conservation efforts for this forest date back to the 18th century due to the numerous springs it housed, which supplied and continue to supply clean water to the inhabitants of Mexico City.
The designation as a National Park was made by Venustiano Carranza in 1917, and since then, various individuals, organizations, institutions, and more have worked diligently to promote its care and conservation. Reforestamos México is one such organization that promotes, supports, and encourages alliances, strategies, and solutions related to urban afforestation and the conservation of urban forests to create greener and more resilient
Reforestamos México and Grupo Bimbo, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Commission, Mexico City (CORENA), and the Cuajimalpa delegation (now Cuajimalpa borough), initiated the project “Program for unification and maintenance of tourist, informational, and environmental signs of the Desierto de los Leones” in 2000. The objective was to place signs that shared environmental and commemorative information.
The goal of this signage is to promote responsible actions and positively influence the citizens who visit this National Park. A series of signs were installed with the purpose of highlighting the historical, cultural, ecological, and environmental value of this important Protected Natural Area, whose oyamel and pine forests are the habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, in addition to aiding in the infiltration of water that supplies Mexico City.
But the significance of this forest is not only ecological/environmental; it also holds great cultural value as it houses the facilities of an ancient convent of barefoot Carmelites built in the 17th century, which receives thousands of visits from tourists and locals every year. On the other hand, the Desierto de los Leones National Park represents a great recreational, sports, and leisure option for residents or tourists visiting Mexico City.
The care and protection of our National Parks are also the responsibility of all citizens. If you visit the Desierto de los Leones, it is important to adhere to the rules and respect the flora, fauna, monuments, and residents of the area. If you witness any action that harms the forest and/or its inhabitants, you can seek information to make your report with the Environmental Secretariat of Mexico City.
Remember that the Desierto de los Leones National Park is also yours. This forest helps regulate temperature, reduce floods, provide water to Mexico City, is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, and is a great option for you to escape the chaos of the city with your family, friends, and loved ones. So, take care of it, protect it, and report actions that put it at risk!