Greening and Mapping a City - Leon, Mexico

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

While reforestation projects abound in Mexico, finding them can be hit or miss—sending emails, visiting officies.  The city of Leon is an exception and a destination for fellow restoration enthusiasts thanks to a Google map.  Created by the city's Environmental Department (DGGA)[1], the map shows greening-related projects throughout greater Leon, including:
  • 140 reforestation sites in Leon and surrounding Sierra de Lobos.
  • 671 green areas
  • 134 'adopted green areas'
  • 35 urban gardens

"Environmental Map - Information from Oct 2015 to Nov 2017."
(Click menu icon in upper left to open more layers.)
(Open full screen map.)

The map serves as a GIS database that can help with planning and management.   For the DGGA, whose mission is the "environmental improvement of the City and the lives of its citizens,"[2] the map can also promote their greening work and make it accessible to the public.*  After all, it's the public who's paying for the trees, and will ultimately reap the benefits.

[See my guide on mapping a site with Google Maps]

Urban Forestation
  1. Benefits - Temperature moderation, air purification, and beautification of an otherwise brown, semi-arid city. (Average rainfall is 26.8 inches per year, mostly within June and July[3]).  According to DGGA, city greening also helps with "adaptation to climate change, recovery of the Leon's identity as a natural landscape, protection of water, reduction of pests and diseases, improvement the quality of human health and creation of employment."[4]
  2. Species - alder (aliso), ash (fresno), various oaks (encinos), pines (pinus), cedar (cedro), coral tree (colorin), yellow oleander (fraile), mezquite, jacaranda, and non-natives including chinaberry (paraiso), chinese elm (olmo chino)
Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

See Trees of Mexico.   

Rural Reforestation in the mountains above Leon, known as Sierra de Lobos.
  1. Benefits - wildlife habitat, erosion control, improved water supplies for Leon, and economic benefits like firewood, timber and fruit.
  2. Species - pines, oaks, mezquite for forestation.  Apple, pear, peach and citrus for orchards.
Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban pine

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology erosion control trench
Trenches dug uphill from seedlings, which catch rainwater
 and sediment as well as loosen soil for root growth.
  See this practice at a CONAFOR reforestation site.
Leon Mexico reforestation greening GIS trees planting restoration ecology agave cactus swales erosion control
Dryland polyculture: maguey (agave) and nopal (prickly pear).
Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban cactus agave swales
Trenches on contour help catch erosion and absorb rainwater.
Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

Screenshots of the Environmental Map (above) and Google earth imagery (below).

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban


References
[1]  "Environmental Map,"  Dirección General de Gestión Ambiental (DGGA)
[2] "Mission, Vision and Values,"  DGGA
[3] "Leon: Climate," Wikipedia
[4] "Forum on Green Spaces and Urban Trees," DGGA (Jan. 15, 2015)

*Promoting such wok can also help "make reforestation cool again," on of Brian Fey's Principles for Reforesting the World.

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

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