In the last 50 years, human beings have transformed their environment with greater speed and intensity than at any other time in history. Scientists estimate that 60% of the services supplied by ecosystems have suffered some degradation or are being used unsustainably, including fresh water, fisheries, air and water purification, the regulation of regional and local climate or protection against natural risks and epidemics.
Harold Mooney and Peter Raven contend that the combination of rapid population growth (to a current 6,700 million people), the continuing consumerist frenzy and the proliferation throughout the planet of harmful and, frequently, ill-conceived technologies is ravaging our biodiversity: estimates drawn up for diverse groups of organisms confirm that many are undergoing a reduction in population size and dispersal areas, and it is reckoned that between 10% and 30% of mammal, bird and amphibian species are currently under threat of extinction. In sum, biodiversity loss is happening now and some of the damage can never be reversed.
The BBVA Foundation Award for Biodiversity Conservation Projects in Latin America, with a cash prize of 250,000 euros, goes to Mexico's Grupo Ecolgico Sierra Gorda "for demonstrating with their Management Program of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve that biodiversity conservation", in the words of the jury, "generates wealth and well-being for the community".
In 1999, the Grupo Ecolgico Sierra Gorda set in train a co-management model involving shared responsibilities between the Mexican Government and civil society for the management of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve; the protected space with the richest ecological diversity in all of Mexico with a total extension of 383,567
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