North American conservation success for CEMEX
El Carmen region celebrates 15 years of biodiversity conservation and species restoration
IN conjunction with the commemoration of World Environment Day 2016 (Sunday 5 June), CEMEX’s El Carmen Conservation Program is celebrating 15 years of continued scientific research, habitat preservation and species restoration.
Covering more than 140,000ha, this cross-border private conservation region between Mexico and the US is one of the most biodiversity-rich areas in North America and one of the five great wilderness ecosystems in the world.
Located in northern Coahuila, Mexico, and southern Texas, in the US, El Carmen represents an extensive key biological corridor for wildlife migration and distribution. The territory is home to more than 1,500 plant species, 289 bird species, 80 types of reptiles and amphibians, and 78 mammal species.
Among the highlights of the protection efforts is the reintroduction of extinct species in the region, such as the bighorn and pronghorn sheep, which currently number approximately 400 specimens. Other species with considerably increased populations include the desert mule deer, the white-tailed deer, and the black bear.
‘Through our El Carmen Conservation Program, we are able to restore habitats and wildlife in a region that is 8.4 times larger in size than the total sum of the areas impacted by our operations worldwide,’ explained Fernando A. Gonzalez, chief executive officer of CEMEX. ‘El Carmen’s 15 years of conservation efforts reaffirm the key role that sustainability plays in our company’s strategy.’
Over the past 15 years, the El Carmen ecological reserve has provided research and educational opportunities to more than 900 students and academics, who monitor the region’s biodiversity and contribute to its conservation. It has also served as the scene for 16 Master’s and PhD thesis projects by candidates from prestigious universities across Mexico and the US, resulting in the publication of some 60 scientific and popular papers.
El Carmen holds active co-operation agreements with several conservation NGOs, such as The Texas Bighorn Society, Birdlife International, and Conservation International, whilst various Mexican and US government agencies and departments are also participants in the conservation initiative.
CEMEX say they will continue to strengthen these co-operative relationships to foster El Carmen’s restoration through their participation in the business summit of the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP13) that will take place in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2016.