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Mexico

Baja Peninsula


Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations

The key message is that by acting now, we can protect the country's natural resources before they disappear.

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The Baja California Peninsula is a region of deserts and mountains, palm oases and rugged coastlines. It extends nearly 800 miles from the United States border south to Cabo San Lucas.

Dominating the eastern shoreline of Baja California Sur, the 1.6 million-hectare Sierra de la Giganta boasts an array of cactus and plant species found nowhere else on earth. And to the east lies the Gulf of California, one of the most diverse seas on Earth.

California and the northern part of the peninsula together make up North America’s only example of mediterranean habitat—one of only five worldwide. This area harbors more native plant species than all of Canada and the northeastern U.S. combined.

What the Conservancy is Doing

The Nature Conservancy and partners are embarking on an initiative to strengthen and expand marine and terrestrial protected areas and mobilize political will and large-scale, sustainable funding to support conservation. Together, these actions will protect a mosaic of habitats for the animals, plants and nearly 10 million people whose well-being hinges on a healthy ecosystem.

The Conservancy is working with partners to conserve the peninsula’s desert and mountain landscapes by strengthening the management of 5.1 million hectares of existing parks, establishing 1.7 million hectares of new parks, and improving protection on at least 10,000 hectares of private and communal lands.

In the northern part of the peninsula, the Conservancy is protecting important examples of mediterranean habitat:

  • San Quintín Bay—located on the Pacific coast of Baja California—the largest and only intact coastal lagoon system in North America’s mediterranean zone.
  • The 5,000-hectare Constitución de 1857 National Park in the Sierra Juárez mountain range, with large, ephemeral lake surrounded by mountain meadows and pine forest and unique residents such as the endangered arroyo toad and quino checkerspot butterfly.
  • The 63,000-hectare Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park—home to bald eagle, California condor, mountain lion, lynx, bighorn sheep and 15 endemic plant species

In all three places, the Conservancy is working with U.S. and Mexican partner organizations to improve park management, secure conservation easements on nearby private properties and develop a comprehensive conservation plan for the area.

In the northern part of the peninsula, the Conservancy has been helping to promote—together with local partner Niparajá—the declaration of Sierra de la Giganta as a new federal park. Such a decree would conserve nearly 60 percent of the state of Baja California Sur. In the southern portion of the proposed park, the 82-mile-long San Cosme-Punta Mechudo Corridor is the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the state. With Niparajá, the Conservancy is working to acquire and put conservation easements on key coastal properties. So far, more than 4,000 hectares have been protected.

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