Colima Governor passes law to protect Parota tree

The parota, providing shade and shelter With the powers granted by the Colima state constitution and the Environmental Law for Sustainable Development of the state of Colima, Governor Mario Anguiano Moreno has issued a decree to declare as a protected species Enterolobium cyclocarpum, better known as a Parota tree.

The decree aims at sustainable management, protection, conservation, development and reproduction of the species tree, trying to combine participation of the three branches of government as well as owners and suppliers of agricultural land, products and, services, including industrial foresters and general society.

Governor Anguiano stated that there must be institutional coordination on regulations, and specifications for planting, transplanting, and development of lumber and other forest products from the Parota.

With the declaration of protected species, the activities of pruning, transplanting and felling that would take place on private land, are subject to compliance with the provisions of the decree.

The decree establishes that in areas that have Parotas, those responsible for a project must submit to the environmental authority a reforestation program, and a program of management of the species before development of the property.

It also states that an applicant who fails to comply with the law, shall receive a sanction of 50 trees damaged or felled, and a fine of 600 to 15,000 times the minimum wage (roughly $17,000-40,000 USD), in addition to the penalties established in the State Penal Code.

75-year-old tree

Seed pods The declaration of protection of the Parota will not aimed at the absolute prohibition of the use of the species, but to take action to improve and increase their population in the state, and its utilization within the framework of environmental sustainability.

The parota, Guanacaste, Huanacaxtle, Caro Caro, or Elephant Ear Tree, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family. It is known for its large proportions, its expansive, often spherical crown, and its curiously-shaped seedpods.

The tree is prized for the shady relief it provides from the intense sun, and, coupled with its immensity, have made it a widely recognized species. It is one of 5 precious hardwoods in Mexico, and is known for its resistance to termites. It can reach heights of up to 140 ft, and its trunk can reach 10 ft. in diameter.

The "parota" is a very leafy tree that grows fast. It is usually planted by farmers in order to offer shadow to the cattle, especially during the summer. Its foliage has high contents of protein and is used as an additional source of food for cattle.

Governor Angiano Moreno and Colima state congress ask
federal government to enact a law to protect the parota

Although the federal government is aware that Gov. Mario Anguiano Moreno issued this decree, the state lawmakers have called on President Felipe Calderon to declare it a federal law as well, making the trees protected throughout the country.
Though the law was approved unanimously, the legislature believes that it also must create awareness among state residents about the importance and value of this species.

The document emphasizes that the tree parota is endemic to the region, especially the state of Colima, making it a symbol of the state; and therefore all necessary steps must be taken to preserve it.

Parota seedlings ready to plant

Slabs of parota reeady for furniture Forestry Com. and U of C looking to plant more parotas in the state
Comisión Nacional Forestal--National Forestry Commission) is working jointly with the University of Colima and the government of Colima in the reforestation campaigns.

In seeking to improve social awareness and the continued preservation of the environment,
CONAFOR promotes projects to care for the tree species parota, which has not been planted en masse in recent years.

Javier Garcia of CONAFOR mentioned that aside from the environmental benefits of reforestation programs, there is an economic benefit to many producers of furniture, allowing them to purchase the hardwood at more r4easonablle prices, ensuring a greater profit margin.

He said
CONAFOR this year has reforested more than 60% of the 4,000,532 acres planned.  A total of 3 million trees were grown, of which 400,000 are parota.
The National Forestry Commission signs an agreement each year with the University of Colima and the state government to use its nurseries, enabling greater cooperation between institutions. One of CONAFOR's main objectives is to be the originator of programs that will benefit society.

Finally, Javier Garcia stressed that
an agreement is also maintained with Pronatura, to support the reforestation of 168 hectares, with more than 50% are in the Cerro Grande Zacualpan communit., This area provides water to the metropolitan area of Colima City and Villa de Alvarez.

The National Forestry Commission, created by presidential decree on April 4, 2001, is a decentralized public institution. CONAFOR's goal is to develop, facilitate and promote productive activities, conservation and restoration in forestry, as well as participate in the formulation of plans and programs, and in implementing the policy of sustainable forest development.

Protect the parota

Finished table top Pronatura Mexico’s mission is the conservation of flora, fauna and priority ecosystems, while promoting society’s development in harmony with nature. Pronatura México, A.C. was first created in 1981 and in the following years, regional and state representative offices were opened.

Together, the various facilities integrate with Pronatura’s national system, with strategies and actions oriented toward achieving the conservation and sustainable development of priority regions and sites for biodiversity preservation in the country.

The protected areas include the most valuable portions of Mexico, such as Colima, along with its flora, fauna and ecosystems. The Pronatura group, according to their literature, is proud of their country, and believe conservation is the responsibility of all Mexicans to leave a legacy for future generations.

First test case of new parota protection law this August

A construction company, without permission, cut down at least 14 parotas located in an area where it is building a subdivision north of the city of Colima.

The mayor of Colima Ignacio Peralta Sanchez said at a news conference that two administrative sanctions shall apply in the amount of 500,000 pesos each (approximately $85,000 USD total). Ardica,  the construction company, was building a new subdivision, Colonias de Santa Fe.

Ardica Construcciones, S.A. de C.V. was fined and work was suspended because the developer did not seek permission before felling the parotas on farmland it owned north of the city. Ironically, if one peruses Arnica's website, there's a headline that screams, "Live Ecologically."

Project suspended

Uprooted tree
Urban Development Secretary Francisco Aguilar Zaragoza said that the developer did have an environmental impact study which allowed for removal of 12 trees, but did not obtain the necessary permits to do so.

He said that municipal and state authorities are working together so that the housing developments of the 10 municipalities have all the permits and requirements to take down trees.

Sanchez Peralta said they stopped the work force and  it will not be reactivated until the construction company pays the fines, and makes efforts to rectify the situation by pulling the permits.

The inspectors of the director general of urban development and housing ecology imposed the suspension to stop all work and operations of the construction company that felled the 14 parotas, according to the mayor.

"This stems from a failure to adhere to their own environmental impact statement, which says that if there is a need to cut down any tree species, including the parota, the company must have a municipal permit," explained Mayor Peralta Sanchez.

It was revealed that the company had already brought down 30 trees, plus the 14 parotas without permits.

Sanchez Peralta noted that as part of the suspension, the company will receive 2 fines because there are two different administrative records (the first, from cutting down 30 trees, and the second for the 14 parotas).

Protesters use recycled paper banners to decree "No trees = no life!"