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The Copper Canyon is a group of canyons consisting of 6 distinct canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara

The Copper Canyon is a group of canyons consisting of 6 distinct canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. The canyon system is larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon in the neighboring United States. [1] The canyons were formed by six rivers that drain the western slope of the Sierra Tarahumara (part of the Sierra Madre Occidental). The six rivers merge in the Rio Fuerte and empty into the Sea of Cortez. The canyon walls are copper / green color is where the name originates.

For many years the ecosystem of the Sierra Tarahumara region of the West was able to remain stable. However, due to increasing human population, there are many threats to the ecosystems of the Sierra Tarahumara region of the West. Government funding to build a tourist "friendly" environment is a threat to the environment and indigenous cultures. The roads have been built in the old remote mountainous areas. Agriculture and grazing and cutting of hardwoods and other trees for firewood has accelerated a problem of soil erosion. Mesquite (Prosopis spp.) And Desert Ironwood (tesota Olneya) trees are cut and are mainly exported to the U.S. for charcoal. Amapa (Tabebuia chrysantha) trees yield very popular wood for construction and furniture manufacturing. Other trees are cut and sold wood for their high price. During harvesting of forests in the area has caused the extinction of the Imperial Woodpecker and the Mexican wolf. Only about 2% of the original forest of old-growth stands. Logging and pulp industry has reduced conifer one to four times. However, a massive project of forest harvesting in the region has been abandoned, for now, the World Bank. The Mexican forest department considers these tree species "legally protected, but enforcement is difficult. Unfortunately, the local drug trade is also a major environmental threats. The government has taken measures to halt or reduce the cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis crops sprayed with herbicides. These herbicides threaten the populations of many species. A large moth Saturn, Rothschildia cincta, is one of the species that are threatened by the fumigations. Their cocoons are used by indigenous people for ceremonial purposes. Open pit mining of copper, not gold and other metals only produces air pollution from smelters, but has been associated with serious deterioration of the Tarahumara frog (Rana tarahumarae). Each system of the river has been dammed creating a shortage of fresh water in the nearby desert communities. A huge dam is being built on the Rio Fuerte, which raises important environmental problems and lead to massive loss of tropical forest habitats. Conservation is under way, but it remains informal and slow. Mexico has excellent environmental laws, but suffers from severe lack of financial support. Implementation has been weak or nonexistent. The agencies are working actively to increase the protection of nature reserves.

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