Urban growth threatens Puerto Vallarta’s natural environment

Whether global warming or lack of awareness among citizens and authorities, in Puerto Vallarta urban growth threatens the natural environment, so on this National Tree Day, little can be celebrated since with the passage of time more and more trees are lost in the municipality.

Since 1959, every second Thursday of July is celebrated as National  Tree Day, this by decree of then-President Adolfo López Mateos, in which we must reflect on our actions that threaten our planet.

Despite the fact that reforestation campaigns are carried out in this municipality, either through the Subdirectorate of the Municipal Environment or civil organizations, these efforts have not been enough to reverse the effects of deforestation that has slowly, but forcefully, been presented in Puerto Vallarta.

Urban growth has contributed most to deforestation, over the natural loss of trees. It is noticeable in the mountains of Puerto Vallarta, the city’s natural bulwark as well as one of the main tourist attractions of this beach destination.

Also, in the streets of the city, fewer and fewer trees can be seen, generating greater heat perception, as evidenced by scientific studies and recently by the Adaptur project, which warns about the effects of global warming and the risk to tourism and humanity itself.

Urban sprawl has been devastating to the environment, even beyond the city, the impacts can be seen. Such is the case of the stone bank located in the vicinity of La Desembocada, on the side of State Highway 544, which was authorized by the municipality and later closed by Profepa. On the site, hundreds of trees have been demolished to initially supply the development of Vidanta. Nowadays, it continues to operate, however, it is not known whether it is legal or clandestine. Puerto Vallarta’s macro-design project, which would reduce vehicle loads to the city and transfer times between the north and south coast of the state, also threatens the environment and therefore the trees.

Tourism projects such as Garza Blanca Sur, owned by the former Vallarta mayor Fernando González Corona or the creation of the mini hydroelectric plant on the Los Horcones river, threaten the environment as well.

In the place where the hydroelectric plant is built, dozens of trees have been knocked down, without leaving aside the serious threat it poses to the river and Las Juntas, as scientists and specialists from various universities have shown.

Although it does not correspond to the territory of Vallarta, the indiscriminate felling of trees in the neighboring municipalities such as San Sebastián del Oeste or Mascota, shows the vulnerability of the environment, properly caused by the hand of man.

Trees are our best allies by providing various benefits, such as water harvesting, oxygen production, conservation of biodiversity and habitat, prevent erosion, reduce global warming, protect from noise, regulate temperature, are barriers against the wind, they give shade and privacy, they improve the landscape and they retain contaminants.

Mexico has 138 million hectares of natural land vegetation, which represent 70 percent of the national territory, of which from 2001 to 2017, 3.2 million of them were lost.

Javier Frías / Quadratín Jalisco

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