Restoration, conservation and local sustainable development in the Dos Puentes and Citlalapa Rivers Micro-watershed in Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico
The micro-watershed is located within the Jamapa River Watershed in the central zone of the state of Veracruz, Mexico. This is a watershed that is considered a priority area because it is the source of water for many population centers, including the Port of Veracruz. Despite the recognition of the area's importance, it has the highest rate of deforestation in the state. Over 8,800 hectares are deforested annually.
The central zone of Veracruz is one of the few zones in Mexico where the cloud forest ecosystem is found. The cloud forest ecosystem supports the greatest biodiversity per unit of land in Mexico. It is also highly efficient in its ability to capture, hold and recirculate water – both rain water and water from low lying clouds. Unfortunately 59% of this ecosystem has already disappeared due to the expansion of agriculture, including coffee, sugar cane and cattle.
Current agricultural practices and the use of pesticides and herbicides have led to a serious deterioration in environmental conditions: serious soil erosion, water contamination, and loss of local food security as soils fail to support annual crops. Drops in coffee and sugar prices together with limited economic alternatives have led to a significant migration from the area to large Mexican cities and to the United States.
The Micro-Watershed Association
In response to this difficult situation, a group of committed local individuals founded the non-governmental organization known as “Microcuenca del Citlalapa A.C." (The Citlalapa Micro-Watershed Association or CMWA.) Their objective is to develop projects that will lead to the restoration and conservation of the natural resources in the local watershed as part of a larger approach to strengthening rural development.
The CMWA facilitates and coordinates communication and collaboration among local stakeholders including, local and national NGOs, local government offices and community associations. They seek to conserve and restore their natural resources through raising awareness, environmental education and concrete projects at the community level.
The Micro-watershed Mission
To promote and implement local sustainable development which conserves natural resources including water, cloud forest and soil; to promote food security and sustainable local economic development.