Land conversion to urban is likely to continue at an increasing rate. In Mexico and Texas counties, rural areas will not grow in population and many of them will remain areas of expulsion. Fertility will remain high in Mexico, mortality will remain virtually the same, and rural to urban migration will continue at an increased rate. Incentives for urban migration are perceived job opportunities and a better quality of life. The growth of manufacturing in Mexico, especially in the maquiladora industry, will attract rural migrants and in particular young females. Accompanying this growth in the manufacturing sector will be increases in the service and commercial sectors
Conversion of land to agriculture from other uses most likely will be rather small. The only possible exception is for ejido lands in Mexico that are suitable for large-scale agriculture and with available water.
There are extensive agricultural imports in Mexico from the U.S., especially of basic grains; there is a small but increasing export of certain crops from Mexico to the U.S. It is unlikely that agriculture will grow substantially in the ecoregion.
Fertility is higher in rural than urban areas
There is extensive variation in municipios in economic activities and economic level; in Mexico, there is a north to south axis with higher socioeconomic levels being in the north, but urban areas are better off than rural areas
General Observations on the Cuatro Cienegas Priority Site
? There is a very small population increase in the state and city.
? Population is bottom-heavy indicating future high fertility.
? Population is primarily native born in Coahuila and municipio.
? Population density is very low compared to the national average; most of the
population is concentrated in one city.
Extreme income inequities exits.
? Exploitation of minerals is the primary economic activity
? Agriculture in the municipio is primarily utilization of pasture land; there is very little actual farming and little income is derived from forest products
? Tourism is an extremely small part of the economy and is not likely to grow without a significant investment in building and infrastructure.
? Although they have not influenced past development, long-standing highway and railroad transportation networks have the potential of expanding or being used to expand the economy
General Observations of the Rio Grande Priority Site
? There are numerous irrigated farms in this region with ample water from the Elephant Butte Reservoir.
? Crops from this region provide 25 percent of the State of New Mexico?s total.
? It is unlikely that extensification of agriculture will take place because of the remarkable urban growth occurring, especially in Dona Ana County.
? Owners who are ecosystem oriented have made large purchases of land astride the Rio Grande.
There is very little agriculture in these municipios, although Guerrero raised 31 percent of the apple crop in the state
? Overall density of population is young but not growing, implying that these municipios are areas of expulsion; working age persons are moving to urban areas
Population between 1980 and 1995 almost doubled
growth is anticipated in Juarez because of NAFTA
? Most population growth is fueled by migration from various rural areas in Mexico.
? Migrants tend to be young women from elsewhere in Mexico who are attracted by job opportunities in maquiladoras
Colonias exist on both sides of the border illustrating great income inequities in both cities.
? Agriculture is not a significant economic activity in El Paso and Juarez; there is little possibility of an increase in agriculture activities in the future
Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth County, Texas
? Sierra Blanca is a very small, poverty stricken community in Texas with primarily a Hispanic population, located 90 miles south of El Paso and 16 miles from the Rio Grande.
? The city is the host of a dump receiving 300 tons of sewer sludge daily from New York.
? Sierra Blanca is being considered as a potential nuclear dumpsite.
? There has been extensive political conflict over the proposed location since activists and Texas and Mexican politicians have expressed opposition.
? Critics argue that the location is earthquake prone, that nuclear waste will be transported across the U.S. placing other communities at risk, and that it could threaten the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo River.
? The presumed final outcome of its location at Sierra Blanca will be made in January 1999 by the Texas State Legislature.
Both sides of the border, in Texas and New Mexico Counties and in Mexican municipios, have a number of colonias ? unregulated human settlements with a lack of basic human services of running water and waste disposal
Juarez is one of the most important maquiladora locations in Mexico with an estimated 200,000 workers - one fifth of the national total.
The infrastructure of Juarez has lagged behind its population growth; there are a large number of squatters living areas lacking basic services of running water and waste disposal.
? Immigration by young females looking for work in maquiladoras accounts for most of the growth in the population of Juarez.
? Growth of the maquiladora industry will continue at an accelerated rate
the Root Causes of Biodiversity Loss: An Analytical Approach (Stedman-Edwards 1998), the Population, Organization, Environment, and Technology perspective used by some human ecologists (POET)
NAFTA, industry and maquiladoras, agriculture, ranching, mining, tourism; scientist involved in the NPA, and associated factors. In addition, various consequences of these factors ? transportation, new construction, commuting (including to the U.S.), migration of specific age and gender categories, export and imports, and the transport of toxic waste to the U.S.
globalization of the world?s economy has impacted the ecoregion
Population varies extensively within the ecoregion, varying from a low under 10,000 population to over two million. Note, however, that the vast majority of counties and muncipios have a small population. The most obvious exceptions are El Paso- Juarez and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Mexico historically has had a rapidly increasing population (Pick, Butler, and Ramirez 1993). In 1950 the population of Mexico was 25.8 million, but it now approaches 93 million! Population projections for Mexico anticipate, give or take, 100 million by the year 2000
During the past thirty years, fertility rates in Mexico have dropped from a very high level (Pick and Butler 1994)
Population increases will continue in Mexico and the U.S. because of higher levels of fertility than mortality (natural increase). The population growth rate in Mexico is not expected to decrease until the second quarter of the twenty-first century because of the relationship between fertility and mortality
extensive rural to urban migration and urban growth in Mexico, especially beginning in the 1940?s and accelerating since
great socioeconomic gap between the wealthier U.S. and poorer Mexico (see Pick and Butler 1990
in the U.S. the border region, especially in Texas [and New Mexico], is one of the poorest regions in the United States
extensive migration of Mexicans to urban areas along the U.S. ? Mexico border
Thus, rural counties, both in Mexico and the U.S. have not had very much population growth and in some instances have had population loss.
substantial growth in the agricultural sector in Mexico and not much growth in agriculture is expected in the ecoregion in the U.S.
Cuatro Cienegas Priority Site
located in the State of Coahuila, 65 km west of Monclova.
Over 86 percent of the state is desert, slightly over three percent forest, and almost 5 percent as hydrophilic. Over 5 ½ percent is considered as perturbed ? areas only containing a residue of original vegetation (BANAMEX ? ACCIVAL 1998: 243)
Coahuila increasingly urbanized. By 1990, it was 86.1 urban and remained at the level through 1993. However, the municipio of Cuatro Cienegas in 1990 was 68 percent urban and 32 percent rural; that is, the vast majority of the population live in the city of Cuatro Cienegas
In 1995, 20.5 percent of the housing units in the municipio did not have running water and 49.1 percent did not have adequate disposal of waste. Over seven percent of the units did not have electricity,
About half of the work force in the municipio in 1990 was in minerals and industrial manufacturing
The greatest magnitude of the total contribution to value added in the municipio was from exploitation of non-metallic minerals [ --gypsum]
Sales Coahiltecas operates in the valley pumping ground water to the surface, evaporating it in artificial pools and extracting sodium and magnesium. It reportedly has 80 employees (Calegari 1997)
In 1991, of the 457,694,713 hectares in the municipio, 96.6 percent was in pasture of natural state, 3.2 percent was being farmed, and 0.2 percent was without vegetation (INEGI 1997a
The dominant animal population consists of goats, but the main income-producing animals are cows.
In 1988 in Cuatro Cienegas there were 27 ejidos with 1,095 ejidatarios, of whom 856 were on individual parcels. Land area included 732,474 hectares of which 725,834 were not in individual parcels. Of the ejido land, only 0.9 percent was actually being used; of that land surface being used, 94.4 percent was in natural pasture. The principal activity of the ejidos was agriculture and harvesting (recolección). Of the land actually being used by ejidatarios, 31.3 percent was irrigated. There was very little use of ?technical? aspects of agriculture such as the use of fertilizers and/or tractors. Of note also is that many of ejidos did not have basic services of electricity, potable water, etc. (INEGI 1988) There is little probability of extensification or intensification of agriculture in the foreseeable future Land tenure changes made in the Mexican Constitution, Article 27, now allows ejidatarios to privatize land and either sell or rent it. Supposedly, the land title must not be under question and the land not suitable for cultivation.
Lower and Middle Rio Grande Priority Site
Doña Ana, Sierra, and Socorro Counties, New Mexico
In 1982, over 83,000 acres were farmed, included seven percent of the irrigated acreage in the state. The primary source of irrigation water is the Elephant Butte Reservoir on the Rio Grande River, near Truth or Consequences, NM (Ellis, Teague, and Lacewell 1998).
Elephant Butte Irrigation District. It covers approximately 90,700 acres in Doña Ana and Sierra Counties; 69,200 and 21,500 acres of flood plain in the Mesilla and Rincon valleys. In 1980, this acreage provided 25 percent of the state?s total crop receipts. Major crops grown are cotton, chiles, other vegetables, grains, and pecans.
El Paso County Irrigation District also draws water from the Elephant Butte Reservoir
White Sands Missile Range
some of the land along the Rio Grande, on both sides of the river near Hillsboro and Eagle, has been purchased by cattlemen who are preserving open spaces (see map 9). This land is under strict private regulations to preserve it as a valuable resource (Clifford 1998).
1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began cleanup at an abandoned mine and mine mill near Organ, New Mexico, in Doña Ana County on a slope not too far from the rio Grande (EPA 1997). This site is located near the expanding subdivisions in the Las Cruces area towards White Sands.
El Pso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Culberson Counties, Texas
Near the turn of the century, El Paso was an area with irrigation canals built by Jesuit missionaries some three hundred years earlier. Agricultural products were wheat and corn. The town was reported to suffer from terrific storms of sand that affected settlements further down the river (see Gooch 1887; Ober 1887).
Juarez, P.G. Guerrero, Ojinaga, and Guadalupe Municipios, Chihuahua
Ciudad Juarez, formerly know as Paso del Norte, just across the river from El Paso, years ago was a grape producing area in ?genial soil, where irrigation is so skillfully employed, they are produced in quantities, and shipped to all parts of the country?(Gooch 1887). population of about five thousand
along the river were willow and poplar trees and the chapparal
Ciudad Juarez, of course, now has over one million persons, a large increase from the mud village at the turn of the century
Guerrero produces 31 percent of the apple crop in the state and Guadalupe has over 8 percent of cows and [mules]
In 1995, 36.22 percent of the Chihuahua population resided in Juarez
Ciudad Juarez is the fifth largest city in Mexico
Colonias are unregulated human settlements. Most colonia residents lack some of the most basic services such as running water and sewage treatment. Their residents are exposed to a variety contaminants via sewage and toxic wastes dumped into the river, air pollution, by eating fish obtained from the river, and by using it for recreation (Lopez 1996). Typical colonia residents squat on land that is open and appears to be available. They settle on these lands because the burgeoning border area population is outpacing the availability of housing. These substandard developments total an estimated 400,000 residents
Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth County, Texas
hosts a dump receiving 300 tons of sewer sludge daily from New York [stopped in 2001] [nuclear dump site nixed in 2007]
The town?s population of 710, about 20 percent of the county?s population, is 64.2 percent Hispanic descent and 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line
The area is prone to earthquakes with 60 quakes of 3.0 or greater magnitude being reported over the past 70 years. The location was declared unsuitable in 1985 for nuclear dump site
Political action, both in Mexico and the U.S., has resulted in Sierra Blanca becoming an international issue (see el Finan 1998), as shown by statements by the Mexican Congressional Delegation (1998) and comments by Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett (1997). In Texas, as of August 1997, twenty counties and ten cities in Texas had passed resolutions against the bill allowing the dump to proceed. In Mexico, the states of Coahuila and Chihuahua and the Mexican National Congress passed measures against the bill and President Zedillo of Mexico made a formal complaint to the U.S. State Department and the White House over the location of the dump. In Mexico, both the PRI ruling party and the PAN have opposed locating the dump in Sierra Blanca