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Quintana Roo leads way for most mangrove loss in Mexico

Cancun, Q.R. — Officials say thousands of hectares of mangrove have disappeared due to tourist development in the state.

Loss of mangrove in the state of Quintana Roo has been described as “dramatic”, noted Jorge Herrera Silveira, researcher at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute.

Over the last 20 years, he says more than 7,000 hectares of mangrove has disappeared and that the figures will only continue to increase. He added that the municipality of Lazaro Cárdenas, where there are currently several projects, will continue to see a decrease in the ecosystem.

Herrera Silveira says that currently, Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán are the top three states with the most mangrove loss due to construction, with Quintana Roo in the lead.

“The state with the most loss of mangrove is Quintana Roo,” he said.

The reduction of state’s mangrove areas was qualified by the scientist as “dramatic”, adding that it is not going to stop since there are several pending hotel projects. He stressed his concern about places such as Holbox.

“Holbox is a no man’s land. They say they are going to build a house and suddenly they have already built a hotel. It’s no man’s land,” he said.

The 7,000 hectares of destroyed mangrove represents around 20 percent of the total extension that the state had before its success as a tourist destination.

In Cancun, the Nichupté mangrove was decreed a protected area in July 2008.