An image showing a railway track under construction with concrete sleepers and a gravel bed in a dry, arid landscape with sparse vegetation and piles of construction materials.

“Shocking Link Between Deforestation and Scorching Heat Revealed by Expert!”

Speleologist and environmentalist José Urbina Bravo has linked the high temperatures in Quintana Roo, which have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, to deforestation. The clearing of the jungle for projects such as the Maya Train is a significant contributor to this issue.

"The jungle is being bulldozed to make way for housing developments and new hotel complexes. These projects replace the natural landscape with concrete slabs and a few palm trees, which can't replace the ecosystem services provided by the original trees," Bravo explained. "Just as a fruit tree can't replace a tree growing next to a cenote, the balance of our environment has been damaged and we are suffering the consequences."

The Forest Cover Changes Information System (Sicamfor) of the Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Forestry (CCMSS) reports that between 2019 and 2023, 58,319 hectares of Quintana Roo's jungle were deforested. The rate of jungle loss in the three states, which cover an area of 141,714 km2 (7.2% of national territory), exceeds the national average of 0.1 percent, reaching 0.4 percent per year.

Bravo, who is also a cave diver and member of Save Me from the Train, believes that the initial damage is the deforestation of the jungle, often without legal support. This is evident in the railway project, where the 225-kilometer section from Cancún to Tulum alone resulted in the loss of 8.7 million trees.

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Recently, the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) requested environmental permits for four stone extraction sites from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat). These sites are located in Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Muyil, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, covering an area of over 100 hectares.

This is in addition to the numerous mines created to extract stone material. The construction of roads, workshops for pile manufacturing, and embankments for truck passage all contribute to environmental devastation and rising temperatures.

"We are losing jungle and water quality due to the drilling of pile placement in caves and cenotes, which we have reported. There is already iron contamination from the corrosion of the tubes they are placing," said Bravo.

From 2019 to 2023, jungle loss by municipality was as follows:

  • OPB: 16,327 ha
  • Bacalar: 11,480 ha
  • BJ: 7,423 ha
  • LC: 7,137 ha
  • FCP: 5,430 ha
  • JMM: 3,010 ha
  • Solidaridad: 2,456 ha
  • Pto Morelos: 2,339 ha
  • Tulum: 2,326 ha
  • Source: CCMSS