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Enhancing Cancún’s Jungle Growth with Innovative Proposal

A new initiative has been proposed to encourage the growth of indigenous plant species in the Cancún jungle. The goal is to improve the utilization of the forest by allowing regional plants to better use sunlight for growth. This proposal involves implementing strategies in the productive forest of the Yucatan Peninsula to create more openings for sunlight and increase the variety of plant species.

María Angélica Navarro Martínez, a researcher at the National Academy of Forest Sciences, explained that most forests and jungles are currently in a stagnant state. They are at an intermediate stage of growth, with immature trees and few gaps for sunlight. The initiative proposes using heritage system methodologies for managing Mexican timber productive jungles.

"One solution is to replace the stand, creating larger clearings in the forest than those created with the selective method," she said. "It's important to establish new regimes of natural disturbances for the appropriate regeneration and growth of the jungle." Navarro Martínez added that natural catastrophic conditions can serve as a treatment for soil preparation and resuming species succession.

The proposal also includes managing and utilizing all types of forests and geoforms, implementing landscape-level management, and using expert recommendations for tree exploitation. It suggests moving away from a minimum diameter cut (DMC) for harvesting trees and focusing on the maturity of the trees instead. This is intended to improve forest utilization, as some native species like mahogany are abundant, but others are underused.

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Historically, between 10,000 and 90,000 cubic meters of mahogany were extracted from the Yucatan Peninsula in the second half of the 20th century, with the DMC being 60 centimeters or more. However, this method of management has led to problems. "The volume does not recover after a century of cutting because the light that reaches the forest floor is not sufficient to support tree growth," Navarro Martínez said. She added that mahogany grows only four millimeters a year, but the mortality rate each year was at least 50%. Currently, there is little successional stage, and there are no old trees.