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    Posted July 27, 2011 by
    Jalpan, Mexico
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    Mexico Reaches its First Carbon Standard Milestone




    Last year, I traveled to Sierra Gorda, Mexico to learn more about the local sustainability initiatives taking place there. Grupo Ecológico was established in 1987 and the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve was decreed in 1997. So, locals have been excitably working for years to protect the land in the area through a series of small, bite-sized initiatives that empower the local farmers. Small reforestations by farmers in the Reserve help combat climate change while benefiting farmers and local communities.


    The Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is the most ecosystem-diverse protected area in Mexico.


    When I spoke with Pati Ruiz Corzo, Director of the Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda at that time, she told me about how the nearly 15 year old organization has grown -- from something she and her husband began on their own -- into an a multi-faceted organizational that has reached numerous milestones, including UNESCO recognition. However, yesterday may have marked their greatest achievement yet.


    On July 26, 2011 Mexico’s Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve became the first in the country to receive validation under two global carbon market standards.


    “Carbon Sequestration in Communities of Extreme Poverty in the Sierra Gorda of Mexico” has been validated under both the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard.


    Rainforest Alliance carried out the external validation.


    This project is really about acting local while thinking global. Unlike most projects of its kind, this one focuses on small reforestation areas that really add up. The land areas, some are as small as .5 hectare, are scattered throughout the rugged mountains of the Sierra Gorda. This result is that the Sierra Gorda project is able to include farmers in very remote areas.


    “Validation under these standards demonstrates the integrity of Sierra Gorda’s offsets and the overall value of the efforts to restore ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, alleviate poverty and sequester carbon in the Reserve,” said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation. It was the first to donate under this project and Wirth plans to celebrate the validation in Sierra Gorda later this year.


    “These validations are an international recognition of the reforestation work being done by the farmers of the Sierra Gorda,” said Pati Ruiz Corzo, Director of the Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda.


    What now?

    Through 2013, the project is expected to include a total of 289 small reforestations with a total of 305.7 hectares.


    Photo with permission from:

    Roberto Pedraza www.sierragordasilvestre.net


    More information can be found here:




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