Sinaloa rural communities care for the Cacaxtla Plateau

The largest nature reserve in Sinaloa has almost half of the endemic vertebrate species in Mexico.

Resultado de imagen para la Meseta de Cacaxtla

The recharge of aquifers that come from water to Mazatlan and the conservation of regional flora and fauna are linked to conservation actions carried out in rural communities located in the protected natural area of ​​the Cacaxtla Plateau.

Cacaxtla Plateau

This is due to the fact that the surface of vegetation that has not been altered by the human being is a very important area of ​​the capture of the rainfall that occurs in the region, so it acts as a recharge area for groundwater that benefits this port.

The area includes coastal lagoons, estuaries, freshwater lakes, rivers and other bodies of water; It has a great diversity of flora and fauna, among which is a rich reservoir of endemic species or with some risk category.

In other words, these rural communities possess the natural resources that sustain us all.

The Plateau is the largest natural protected area in Sinaloa.
The Cacaxtla Plateau is the largest natural protected area in Sinaloa.
Photo: Raquel Zapien

That is one of the reasons why the Cacaxtla Plateau was declared a protected natural area on September 27, 2000, in the category of management of the Area of ​​Protection of Flora and Fauna, with a total area of ​​50,862.31 hectares. They are located in the municipalities of San Ignacio and Mazatlan.

Resultado de imagen para la Meseta de Cacaxtla

The community gets involved

The reserve has a management program formulated by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) with the participation of the inhabitants to order the activities that are carried out inside the area and promote their long-term conservation.

Resultado de imagen para la Meseta de Cacaxtla

Thanks to this, it is possible to find villages where biogas is produced for domestic consumption and organic fertilizers; others that participate in the monitoring of the jaguar and the conservation of sea turtles, or those that have managed to organize to recycle plastic containers.

Ecosystems are also used for environmental education, recreation, and sustainable tourism. The objective is that the environmental services of the reserve allow satisfying the needs of the communities within the protected natural area in an organized and sustainable way.

In the protected natural area there are 13 localities considered of greater importance, of which 12 are rural and one is urban, according to the management program.

Conanp is the authority responsible for ordering and conserving the biological corridor, in addition to implementing environmental conservation and education programs.

Field Teachings

Cacaxtla Plateau
Josefina and Rafael raise goats in an ecological way. Photo: Raquel Zapien

On the Cacaxtla Plateau is the Ejido de Toyhúa; there is the El Ruiseñor ranch, owned by Rafael Hernández Hernández, who along with his wife, Josefina Ayón Mendoza, raises goats to produce milk and cheese; In addition to chickens and rabbits.

Nothing is wasted, the excreta of the goats are used to generate biogas for domestic use and at the same time to produce organic fertilizers that are used in the cultivation of pumpkins and other vegetables when it is the season.

Don Rafael gives talks to university students who arrive in trucks from various parts of the country to learn the methods of ecological and artisanal production in their pens, plots and in the cheese factory that Josefina works.

“That’s what they come here to know how things are done,” he says.

The tour includes an explanation of the operation of the biodigester that produces the gas that the family uses as fuel to cook their food for ten years.

Every day, work at the ranch starts at 6 in the morning and ends until 6 in the afternoon.

nature tourism

Nature tourism
Ecotourism is an employment alternative for communities settled in the Cacaxtla Plateau. Photo: Raquel Zapien

The best-known project on the Cacaxtla Plateau is Rancho Las Palomas, which is located south of San Ignacio, at kilometer 53.5 of the Mazatlan-Culiacán free highway.

Domestic and foreign tourists are attracted by the state of conservation of the reserve, where they perform ecotourism, camping, hiking, and wildlife observation activities.

And it is not for less, because in this biological corridor there is 64 percent of the vertebrates registered for Sinaloa and almost half of the endemic species of Mexico (49.27 percent), according to the Flora Protection Area Management Program and Fauna Cacaxtla Plateau.

There are also records that the six felines that exist in Mexico transit here: jaguar, puma, ounce, tigrillo, ocelot and lynx, as well as being an important nesting and refuge area for migratory birds.

The Jaguar and five other cats pass through the Cacaxtla Plateau.
The Jaguar and five other cats pass through the biological corridor.
Photo: Rancho Las Palomas

Miguel Enrique Lizárraga Osuna, the owner of the ranch, started conservation work in 2005 and in 2010 he began working in coordination with Conanp. Then trap cameras were installed, stone pools were built that function as watering holes and towers for wildlife observation, including migratory and endemic birds.

Having that infrastructure, the next step was to venture into ecotourism, for which he was trained in the identification of birds, footprints and as a tourist guide.

In 2016, he obtained an honorable mention in the Recognition to the Conservation of Nature in the individual category granted by the Semarnat at the national level.

“I never imagined the future,” says Lizárraga Osuna, a descendant of a family of hunters.

Enrique Lizárraga Osuna began conservation work in 2005.
Photo: Son Playas

Another important achievement in the ranch is to have demonstrated that it is possible to raise cattle in the feline area without them attacking, as long as their natural prey is respected.

Chara sinaloense

They collect PET and promote environmental education

The inhabitants of the Dimas union collect plastic containers that they deliver to a recycling company while the caps are donated to campaigns to help children with cancer. The resources obtained by the sale of PET are used for the purchase of gifts that are raffled on holidays to motivate the population to continue participating.

The collection campaign began in 2006, at the initiative of Angelina Lamarque Bastidas and her husband Candelario Ponce Iribe, local inhabitants. Packaging sacks are deposited in your yard, reaching up to one ton per week.

They collect PET containers
Dimas inhabitants collect up to a ton of PET per week.

They themselves, with the support of their neighbors, rescued and reforested a green area, in which a classroom, owned by the Ejido, was later set up for environmental education. The collaborative work also led them to have a common nursery.

Candelario was registered as a jaguar and other species monitor from 2007 along with other men from nearby communities. Angelina participates in productive projects that teach local women to make sweets, empanadas and other foods with products from the region.

In this way, Dimas has become an example of a community organization for sustainability.

Earthworm Compost for Organic Crops

In Coyotitán, San Ignacio syndicate, vermicompost is produced.

José Leoncio Loaiza Peraza feeds and takes care of the worms with which solid and liquid fertilizer that agricultural producers use in their crops is made, of which a large part is organic. People also go in search of fertilizer for their gardens and pots.

Like other inhabitants of the area, he dedicates part of his time to the work of monitoring and surveillance of the reserve.

In Coyotitán they produce solid and liquid organic earthworm fertilizers.

Nature and society

In the communities immersed in the reserve, and in those that border on them, two things have been learned: that controlling the deterioration of ecosystems generates benefits and that the conservation of biological diversity is also a way to meet the needs of the population.

Not only is it a sign of interdependence between nature and society, but that both can live together sustainably.

Cacaxtla Plateau
The Cacaxtla Plateau, seen from Las Palomas Ranch. Photo: Raquel Zapien

Important data

  • The total area is 50 thousand 862.31 hectares.
  • 289 species of flora
  • 533 wildlife species recorded in total until 2016.


Jaguar ( Panthera onca ), puma ( Puma concolor ), ounce ( Herpailurus yagouarondi ), tigrillo ( Leopardus pardalis ), ocelot or margay ( Leopardus wiedii ) and lynx ( Lynx rufus ).

Resultado de imagen para la Meseta de Cacaxtla


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