Royal Resorts is a longtime supporter of conservation in the Mexican Caribbean and is always looking for ways to reduce its environmental footprint. Through an alliance with local NGO Amigos de Sian Ka’an, the Royal Resorts Foundation contributes to the protection of jungle and wetland ecosystems and the rare creatures that inhabit them, hydrological studies and coral reef monitoring.
Home of the jaguar, tapir, spider and howler monkeys, hundreds of species of birds and thousands of different trees and plants, many with healing properties, the Great Maya Jungle that covers wide swathes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Chiapas and northern Guatemala and Belize is an ecological treasure house. Widely regarded as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, it is an important green lung and defense against climate change. Yet, its riches are under threat from urban sprawl, deforestation, forest fires and pollution.
The Royal Resorts Foundation and Amigos de Sian Ka’an support an initiative to safeguard four million hectares of tropical forest in the state of Quintana Roo that are not currently protected by reserves. Landowners receive environmental services payments for committing not to clear the jungle on their land. The goal is to create biological corridors linking reserves so that wildlife can move freely through the area to feed and breed and to preserve the area’s rich biodiversity and help combat climate change.
Deep under the forest floor lies another hidden treasure, a complex network of underground rivers –the longest discovered to date anywhere in the world. This vast aquifer is the only source of fresh water in the limestone landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula and is also Mexico’s most important water resource for future generations. By protecting the jungle and preventing the pollution of cenotes or sinkholes, we will help to keep this water pure for future generations. And since the underground rivers flow through the coastal wetlands into the sea, by conserving the forest and the hydrological system, we will also be reducing the human impact on the Mesoamerican Reef, the second longest in the world. Corals are extremely fragile and vulnerable to chemicals, sewage and other pollutants carried in the water. Everything is connected.
Amigos de Sian Ka’an biologists monitor the health of reefs in the Riviera Maya, the Sian Ka’an reserve, and Banco Chinchorro coral atoll. They are on the lookout for signs of coral bleaching associated with climate change and Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease. They record excessive seaweed cover, the spread of the lionfish, an alien predator and they monitor fish populations.
A new green space for Cancun
The Royal Resorts Foundation is also supporting the Parque Cancun project, the creation of a new green space for local families and visitors to enjoy in Downtown Cancun. It donates the skills and time of two gardeners to help in the landscaping.