The Rio Lagartos Ecosystem is facing a number of threats, many of them are threats you wouldn’t immediately think of for a bio reserve. The Rio Lagartos reserve is 150,000 acres and is one of the largest bio reserves in Latin America, making its sheer size a reason it faces so many threats. Here are the largest threats faced by the bio reserve and possible solutions for them.
The reserve of Rio Lagartos is a prime spot for hurricane strikes. It’s located along just the right path of the Caribbean and Atlantic hurricanes. It’s risk and danger is clear from simply looking at the reserve history. In the last 45 years there have been 13 hurricane strikes. The last Hurricane strike managed to work far enough inland to damage most of the towns close to San Felipe, Rio Lagartos and Las Coloradas. Solutions for the hurricane problem is nil, but by keeping a close eye on the weather patterns and ocean activity experts can predict and prepare the towns for the strike.
There are two big areas of human population in Rio Lagartos that have had the biggest impact on the deforestation. It has resulted in the clearing of the thousands of acres of mangroves and various other types of vegetation. So far over 7,000 hectares have been transformed into pastures for the surrounding farms to help sustain the towns. The best solution for this is by limiting growth of the towns affecting the bio reserve. If the towns grow unchecked they will eventually grow further into the bio reserve and destroy countless more acres.
The Rio Lagartos Ecosystem has attracted more and more financially challenged farmers that regularly use the oceans and bodies of water to fish for crabs, shrimp, and fish. There have been several population declines in the marine life since the area has increased in human population over the past few years. Some of the marine life that has been hit the hardest are the milk conch, mullets, clams, crabs, and even octopus has gone through a drop in population. Some farmers and poachers have resorted to using TNT and other explosives to fish, which decimated the wildlife, and the surrounding riverbed. A solution to this is an increased number of guards for the Rio Lagartos bio reserve so that the poachers and illegal fishing that’s done will drop if not completely eliminated.
Poor Road Construction
In the reserve the roads aren’t built with culverts or ditches along the sides of the road; instead, perpendicular wave breaks are used, which affects the natural flow of water. The southern parts of the reserve are the most affected by this type of poor road construction due to the large number of people, villages, and towns in the area. Most wouldn’t consider the ramifications of this in terms of soil content, but this type of road construction channels water in different locations than it was originally meant to be in. This has a huge effect on the soils salt levels, and so the ability the land has to support mangroves as well as multiple other types of vegetation. The solution to this problem will be to properly design the roads to improve water flow and control salt water flooding into the wrong areas of the reserve, potentially saving hundreds, if not thousands, of plant and animal species.
Visit the Rio Lagartos Reserve on our beautiful Bird Watching Rio Lagartos Tour