Sierra y Mar

Biodiversity Conservation in the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Gulf of Mexico

The Project

The Biodiversity Conservation in the Sierra Madre Oriental and Gulf of Mexico (Sierra y Mar) project aims to improve biodiversity conservation in 14 protected areas (PAs) and ecological corridors in the Northeast and Sierra Madre Oriental; Coastal Plain and Gulf of Mexico; and Neovolcanic Axis and Center, by reducing land use changes, maintaining ecosystem integrity, and providing environmental services. 

Read the Sierra y Mar newsletter.


The Sierra y Mar project is the first financial cooperation initiative between Mexico and Germany in the field of natural resource protection as a result of the intergovernmental negotiations on Cooperation for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change between the Government of Mexico and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany held in November 2011.

This is a collaboration between KfW Development Bank, FMCN and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT, acronym in Spanish), through the National Commission of Protected Areas (CONANP, acronym in Spanish). The capital provided by KfW Development Bank secured the counterpart of the Coastal Watershed Conservation in the Context of Climate Change (C6) project, which allowed KfW Development Bank and the World Bank to coordinate their investments in Mexico. KfW Development Bank's interest mainly covers the acquisition of movable and immovable assets in the project's PAs, while the interest from the World Bank's contributions, both past and future, covers current expenditures.

The project includes 14 PAs: Santa Elena Canyon; Ocampo; Maderas del Carmen; Cuenca Alimentadora del Distrito Nacional de Riego 004 Don Martín; Sierra del Abra Tanchipa; Sierra Gorda; Cuenca Hidrográgica del Río Necaxa; Pico de Orizaba; Cofre de Perote; Lobos-Tuxpan Reef System; Veracruz Reef System; Los Tuxtlas; Pantalon de Centla; and Usumacinta Canyon.

The lines of work that guide the actions of Sierra y Mar are:

  1. Strengthening the management capacity of PAs.
  2. Strengthening of productive and community initiatives and greater participation of key stakeholders.
  3. Financial sustainability of PAs.
  4. Strengthening of CONANP in cross-cutting issues of communication, monitoring and capacity building.

The Sierra y Mar project is the first financial cooperation initiative between Mexico and Germany in the field of natural resource protection.

PA Testimonials


Through strategic planning, Sierra y Mar has granted financial support for priority conservation activities in 14 PAs, to significantly improve their daily conservation and management actions. In addition, it has implemented Integrated Watershed Action Plans (IWAP) to conserve biodiversity, mitigate climate change, strengthen the sustainable use of natural resources, and recover functionality and ecosystem services in four watersheds.

Furthermore, Sierra y Mar has accompanied the execution of federal subsidies that promote the conservation of the project’s PAs and strengthened the PA Advisory Councils to promote social participation. Likewise, the project has strengthened the capacities of CONANP personnel in the PAs about different issues to improve management effectiveness.

As part of the counterpart for the Sierra y Mar project, in 2020, FMCN hired Earth Observation Solutions and Services (EOSS) GMBH to conduct the Habitat Transformation Rate (HTR) analysis of the 175 PAs with land area in Mexico, comparing vegetation cover between 2015 and 2020. The results obtained for the 14 PAs of Sierra and Mar report that there are no significant changes in vegetation cover within the polygons of the PAs. Click here for the final report of results.

During the first semester of 2022, Sierra y Mar strengthened surveillance, fire management, biological monitoring, environmental education, follow-up on productive projects, and visitor services, supported by funding for the acquisition of vehicles for six PAs.

Currently, Sierra y Mar continues to develop a communication strategy to highlight the project’s achievements, activities, and results, in addition to strengthening the capacities of the PAs so that they take ownership of it and continue its dissemination, even after the formal closure of the project in 2023. 
Factsheet Sierra y Mar

Learn more about the project:




  • KfW Development Bank


  • Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas


If you have any complaint or disagreement about the project: 

Access our complaint line here.