The purchase comes not a moment too soon as illegal loggers have been stripping highly prized trees, such as pines, junipers and cedars, from the forested land.
“It is a great relief to have completed the land purchase process and so give protection to a threatened area,” explains Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, Technical Officer of WLT’s conservation partner in Mexico, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG).
Another advantage of the purchase, it will block access by road to the Llano Chiquito area of cloud forest, and any timber extraction there.
(Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, Technical Officer, Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda)
Recent surveys by botanists have resulted in several new discoveries. Endemic species have been found, as well others that are currently being described (Agavaceae, Cactaceae, Lentibulariaceae). These finds highlight the exceptional botanical value of the flora of the area and the importance of protecting it.
As Roberto puts it: “This is a living laboratory where plants have evolved into unique species only found in an small area. The reserve also contains magnificent limestone formations, where the karst is barely covered so there are jagged peaks, big fractured rocks and deep sinkholes everywhere. If you go off the trail you have to be very careful not to step into a big hole!”
“This is clearly a crucial purchase adding huge conservation value to the 877 acres (355 ha) purchased with the support of WLT in 2012 to form the Cerro Prieto-Cerro la Luz reserve,” adds Ruth Canning, WLT’s Conservation Programmes Officer (Americas Region).
“Having visited the Sierra Gorda in 2012 I know that the support of WLT and the work of our partner GESG is making a significant impact on saving this unique forest and its species.”