Cancun, Q.R. — Four new protected areas have been included in a decree signed by the president that will see millions of hectares of Quintana Roo area off-limits to future exploration.
A total of nine new decrees have been signed by Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, of which four are newly established protected natural areas that include the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve.
The news came amid the Thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, COP 13. More than 65 million hectares are officially under government protection that will see natural ares excluded from possible exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons. Of the 65 million hectares, 5.7 million include the coast of Quintana Roo. An additional 37,000 hectares of Quintana Roo forest — including mangroves — are included in the new natural protection decree.
State governor, Carlos Joaquín González, explained that the objective of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve is to generate new tools in the protection of environmental conservation for the state and Caribbean Sea.
The new decree also includes 1.2 million hectares of the Pacific Islands Biosphere Reserve at the Gulf of California and 58 million of the Deep Mexican Pacific Biosphere Reserve, an 800 meter deep area that extends from Chiapas to Nayarit.
Other regions included in the natural protection decree are the Biosphere Reserve of the Sierra de Tamaulipas and the Revillagigedo Archipelago, four volcanic islands collectively referred to as Socorro Islands that lie 390 kilometers southwest of Cabo San Lucas that fall under Mexican federal jurisdiction. In July 2016, the Revillagigedo Archipelago were inscribed as a World Heritage Site.