— Jose Gonzalez

Forest change in the Mayan Riviera

Forest Change

The map above shows forest change from 2000 to 2013 in the Mayan Riviera area of Mexico. The map tool was developed by the Global Forest Watch. The tool allows the calculation of total forest loss and gain during the aforementioned period.

For example, in the highlighted area for Cancun and Playa del Carmen, equivalent to 486,537.6 Ha, there has been a forest loss of 53,112.7 Ha (11%) and a gain of 10,231.2 Ha (2%).

If you zoom into Cancun and hit the play button you will see how the city starts losing its forest cover around 2005 at a greater rate than ever before.  See map below.

Cancun

In Playa del Carmen, the forest loss starts around the same time as in Cancun (see below). Although these changes in the forest cover could be related to the effects of  Hurricane Wilma in 2005 Hurricane Wilma in 2005, they could also be related to changes in the policies regarding urban development that have led to urban sprawl.

Playa del Carmen

As someone that used to live in Cancun for a long time. I can attest to the lack of public policies that foster urban density by providing affordable and high quality urban transport, in favor of short term solutions like providing low quality road improvements that only increase traffic An example of this, was the construction of  the large and polemic  Dragon Mart near Cancun without proper access to transport instead of increasing building density in downtown Cancun (see a photo below). If the government wants to keep its place as a top-notch tourist spot, it has to grow tall instead of sprawling and depleting one of its most valuable resources for tourism: ecosystems and biodiversity.

Dragon Mart

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