Why the Mesoamerican Reef System is important?
The second most important barrier reef in the world is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS), which stands out for the richness of the species that inhabit it and for the complex interaction between the reef system and a wide variety of ecologically interdependent marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, seagrasses, lagoons, and mangroves, in addition to being home to more than two million people, one million of whom depend directly on natural resources. Given that the MAR comprises a large number of hectares of protected natural areas that provide habitats, refuges, feeding, nesting, and breeding grounds for a large number of flora and fauna species, some of which are threatened or under some category of protection by the IUCN, the ecological and economic importance of this region is of vital importance for the environmental services and ecosystem functions it offers to the communities.
However, the vulnerability of the area exposed to the impact of human activities such as strandings, pollution caused by intentional and/or accidental discharges, including oil discharges, wastewater, dumping of construction materials, garbage, construction, deforestation, among others, have affected the structure and biological composition of these ecosystems.
Map of the MAR region. MAR Fund.
It is important to conserve the MAR region not only because of its ecological and economic impact, but also because of the cultural value of the various ethnic groups that live along the coastline of the four countries that comprise it and that depend on the sustenance of economic activities linked to marine and coastal resources such as fishing, tourism and trade. In addition, various archeological and scientific investigations have been carried out by governmental, national and international academic institutions and other independent organizations that have contributed relevant information for the management of natural resources.
Among the different organizations, is the RRN-MAR who works together with communities, government agencies, and academic institutes to address and focus on the main issues and efforts on restoring the integrity and resilience of coral reefs and maintain the natural resources of the marine and coastal ecosystems.