Prohibition on Development of Projects that Include Removal of Mangrove

March 14, 2008
Prohibition on Development of Projects that Include Removal of Mangrove

Last year’s amendments to article 60 TER of the General Wildlife Law (Ley General de Vida Silvestre) drastically limit certain activitiessuch as removing mangrove from real property, allowing only those developments that have as their objective the protection, restoration,study or conservation of such areas to proceed, which serves as an obstacle to developing many projects and makes certain projectsimpossible to develop, including infrastructure, tourism and real estate projects all along Mexico’s coastline. Based on the negative impactof such amendments, two initiatives have been put forth to amend the law, which are currently pending in the Mexican Federal Senate. Thefirst initiative seeks to authorize mangrove removal when the Mexican Department of the Environment and Natural Resources(SEMARNAT) determines that a project will not cause an irreversible environmental impact. The second initiative seeks to allow projectsin mangrove areas when the project will not affect the integrity of the mangrove itself, which process will be subject to an environmentalimpact study made pursuant to the Mexican General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection, thus making it possiblefor SEMARNAT to grant authorizations to developers conditioned on meeting such requirement. Until these or other similar reforms areimplemented, it will remain very difficult to develop projects that include removal of existing mangroves; however, it is possible to devisestrategies that will allow development under certain conditions.

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