|Prof. M. Isabel Ramirez, 2011 Pollinator Advocate|
Prof. Isabel Ramirez is the Mexico Pollinator Advocate for 2011. She is doing an ambitious project in the Morelia district of Mexico to help local people reforest their land. She's providing them with cheap tools to measure water quality and calibrating the tools with her own measurements. Why? Water quality is a "first victim" of deforestation and leads to increased illness in village children. If local people see that reforestation is making their children healthier, they have extra reasons to preserve the trees. Why is she a Pollinator Advocate? Guess who overwinters in forests in the Morelia district? If you guessed 3/4 of North America's monarch butterflies, you are golden! [Caveat: post based on my conversations with Prof. Ramirez; any mistakes my own]
Although I enjoyed meeting many people at the 2011 NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign) meeting in Washington last week, it was a particular pleasure to meet the Mexican participants. Although the NAPPC is a 3 nation effort, the resources available to US participants typically dwarf those in the "also ran" nations of Mexico and Canada. So, it is very interesting to meet people from the "fringe" and understand how they are making progress on these critical issues.
I found Prof. Ramirez's approach, which takes into account many issues of everyday life for people living in Morelia, a very interesting model. In addition to the water quality issue, she is trying to build ownership of the forest resources by the local people. This makes them less likely to participate in clear-cuts (most of them illegal) perpetrated by outsiders who offer the local people a pittance to cut down their natural inheritance. There are many echos of land management issues in Native Canadian areas for the thoughtful to consider here.
|Clement Kent (Canada) and Isabel Ramirez (Mexico)|