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Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Camera trap videos capture biodiversity of FSC-certified area in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula

Ejidos are part of a land tenure system in Mexico by which land is communally managed by local villages. Many ejidos, such as Ejido Caoba in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula, run sustainable forestry enterprises on their land, harvesting and selling wood for the benefit of the entire community and replanting the trees they cut down in order to ensure the health of the ecosystem as a whole.

by Mike Gaworecki on 23 April 2018, Mongabay

One way to measure how well an ecosystem has been maintained is through the levels of biodiversity the land is capable of sustaining — and by that measure, Ejido Caoba’s efforts to preserve the ecosystem appear to be quite successful, as the camera trap videos suggest.

There are 311 ejidatarios in Ejido Caoba who collectively manage the nearly 68,000 hectares of land owned by the community. Ejido Caoba has been certified for sustainable forest management by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for the past 13 years.

On a recent visit to the ejido, Pedro Pablo Chay Cocom, the current president of Ejido Caoba, told Mongabay that the community makes more money selling its wood on the international market than it does domestically, which is why FSC certification is so important. “Without certification,” Chocom said, “selling wood would be very hard.”

In 2016, for instance, the ejido sold $173,000-worth of certified mahogany to U.S.-based Gibson Guitars. The following year, the community planted 26,000 new trees of a variety of species, including 19,300 mahogany trees, 2,600 ciricote, and 3,900 chicozapote and ramón.

Ejido Caoba has its own sawmill and a workshop where community members make furniture — a “value-added” product that can bring in even more money than highly prized timber like mahogany. But sustainable forestry and the manufacturing of related products is not the community’s only endeavor. The ejidatarios of Ejido Caoba also maintain a 32,500-hectare protected area and are trying to incorporate ecotourism into their business ventures by offering guided tours.

Being FSC certified requires that the ejido monitor wildlife in areas of high conservation value. To that end, Ejido Caoba installed several camera traps in its conservation area at the end of November 2017 and left them up through December.

Ejido Caoba was kind enough to share some of the resulting camera trap videos with Mongabay. The videos feature a variety of birds, including Ocellated turkeys (Meleagris ocellata), plain chachalacas (Ortalis verdula), and great currasows (Crax rubra), as well as a number of mammals that were also caught on film, from Baird’s tapirs (Tapirus bairdii), White-nosed coatís (Nasua narica), and grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargentus) to wild cats like margays (Leopardus wiedii) and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis).

Raul Palomeque Perez, Community Forestry Development Coordinator in the Yucatán Peninsula for the NGO Rainforest Alliance, told Mongabay that this level of biodiversity demonstrates the overall health of the landscape.

“With respect to the presence of margays and ocelots, they’re considered indicator species for their high sensitivity to hunting, to changes in the forest cover of their habitat, and changes in the populations of their prey and water sources,” Perez said, “therefore their presence is considered a good indicator of the conservation status of ecosystems.”

After this year’s harvest of timber and non-timber forest products comes to an end, the ejido will once again install the camera traps in harvest areas in order to continue monitoring wildlife populations on their land. But for now, you can enjoy these videos captured in November and December 2017.

See the full article here.

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000205