Daniel: El Bosque de Agua y Petunia

April 20, 2010

A week ago I went with an environmental group to a forest in the north of town where the state of Morelos borders on the Federal District. We spent the entire day either walking on trails through the forest, learning about the vegetation, and making new friends or simply climbing. We climbed two portions of a ridge that overlooked nearly the entire forest and part of the highway going from Cuernavaca to Mexico City.

The environmental group’s central concern at this point in time is a proposal for building a highway to divert traffic from the main autopista running along the East side of Cuernavaca, to a bypass on the west side that would essentially cut the forest in half. It’s the last remaining national forest in Morelos and is a key factor in regulating the amount of water that Mexico City and other cities in Morelos receive in both the rainy and dry season. If the forest is damaged in any way on a large scale—like if someone were to put a giant highway right through it—two things will inevitably happen.

The first is the issue with the water flow out from the ridge which constitutes more than 50% of the water used by Mexico City. That’s a lot considering the population of the city itself is just about 9 million and there are just over 21 million living in the metro area. The other issue that would be created by this highway is one that could potentially ruin Cuernavaca’s trademark attraction, “The city of eternal spring.”  Since the city is conveniently located a few thousand feet below a tall ridge, and has over 30 large ravines running through it, the temperate climate here is controlled much like a radiator is. In the morning, all the warmer air creeps up from the valley below and into the city, heating it gradually as the day progresses. In the afternoon and evening as temperatures reach their peak, the cooler air flows down off the higher ridges cooling the city and keeping the temperature more or less constant. Any damage to this delicate system of climate balance, say a highway clogging one of these ravines, would dramatically change the mean temperature of this city on any day of the year.

On to the photos: These go in chronological order of the hike and actually when i took them.

  • The top two are just after starting out and before our first climb.
  • The following 5 make up some of the vegetation and sites we saw along the way, not much explaining to be done there.
  • The last one from the hike is the one and only Charlie Goff resting after we lost about half the group somewhere on the trail. I’ve never seen anyone conduct a search effort so effectively from his back, no sarcasm intended.
  • Last is Petunia, the donkey of Carol Hopkins.


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