April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

An Overview of the Natural Protected Areas in Jalisco

Ana I. Ramírez-Q.-Carr, Ofelia Pérez Peña, Juana América Loza Llamas, Department of Environmental Sciences, University Center for Agriculture, Biology and Animal Sciences, University of Guadalajara, Mexico


We want to demonstrate a Web site that is based on Natural Protected Areas (NPA) and Recreational Areas of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. In this site the Jalisco NPAs and recreational areas are presented and focus on specific elements that could be considered icons of the different regions of the state.  This curriculum-based site,  is designed for elementary school children grades 5 and 6 as well as for the general public.

It is organized into themes relevant to biology, ecology, wildlife and culture. The basic information is derived from interviews with local residents of the communities featured, and interviews with experts with experience in state NPAs management and research. There are a large number of experiences that we want to document and share via this project.

Keywords: Natural protected areas, environmental communication,  interviews, environmental perceptions, Mexico.


The legal protection of natural areas should be relevant to the general public. This is a basic principle of paramount importance in order to reach the ideal of actual preservation. Ordinary people need to make sense of what these wildlife environments really mean to themselves and hence to the rest of the natural and non-natural environments. Among the general public there are subsets of stakeholders at different levels of involvement, and other groups that are target audiences so they will become stakeholders (we hope).  Among the latter group we have a large audience of fifth and sixth graders at elementary schools who are the target audience for the development of this Web site which is designed to fulfill their information needs.

In the state of Jalisco there are several natural protected areas created by federal or state decree, or by county declaration. However, research conducted by members our team  provide evidence that the general public reports having very little to no knowledge about the existence of the legal protection, or the utility and benefits of such protection (Ramírez & Posadas, 2004; Ramírez & Brito, 2006; Ramírez, Carrillo, Brito, Pérez & Posadas, 2006; Ramírez, Mayorga, Carrillo, Posadas, Pérez & Brito, 2007). Basic information is considered, reporting whether they know the land is in a natural protection area. If respondents indicate knowledge of the protection, then they are asked about the category or the type of protected land. The types of possible protected land in Mexico are identified in the Ley General del Equilibrio Ecológico y Protección al Ambiente (Environment and Ecology General Law). In Jalisco there are national parks, forest and wildlife protection, hydrological protected land, and biosphere reserve. Another common question we have asked is whether they know the size of the public space under such type of protection.

According to the above-mentioned law (Art. 45), the establishment of natural protected areas has the main objective of preserving natural environments that represent the ecosystems; preserving genetic diversity; ensuring the sustainable use of the ecosystems; providing ground for scientific research; providing, retaining and diffusing knowledge that allows the preservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity; and protecting natural, touristy and recreational environments. Here is the where the Website that we are presenting aims to contribute, by building a bridge between the general public, experts, and stakeholders.

Besides the poor knowledge base the public report, they report that the forested areas to them are mainly a scenic and landscape resource. Another large set of responses indicates that forested areas represent a source of fresh air. We need to read between the lines of the responses. Respondents reporting seeing almost no relationship between the presence of a forest and its association with water.

We have developed several survey projects in the state of Jalisco since 1994, and the results are consistent. Common citizens are “water-blind” when they see the forests in the protected areas of Jalisco, as well as in other recreational areas (whether they are currently under the process of legal protection, or not (Ramírez, Posadas & Anaya, 2006).) When we are talking about land not under the process of legal protection, we are considering city or urban parks that should be considered among Natural Protected Area County System (Sistema Municipal de Áreas Naturales Protegidas). This is part of a strategy to focus attention on the development of Management Plans for the preservation of public parks in the cities of the state of Jalisco. The Management Plans include strict determination of the parks limits. There exists a need to attract general public attention to these parks due to consistent encroachment of the green areas in the cities.

Environmental perceptions are considered in this paper to be the worldviews of the people regarding their natural environment. Considering these pieces of research evidence, an intervention should be developed to better inform the general audience about the wealth of resources the natural environment still holds, did hold, or should be developing and preserving for future generations. The Web site is only one part of a strategy to overcome public knowledge deficits and to support other parts of the strategy where we have projects for community-based action. The Website would contribute to citizens having a larger view of their own world.

Efforts to document environmental perceptions in México have been pursued by several authors. Hernández (2006) documented perceptions of elementary school students about the tropical forests in México, and Lobo (2005) documented perceptions about the desert. Others have documented perceptions about the mountains and city parks.

In this paper we discuss a work in progress:  the development of a Web site.

Our Web Site

Designing he site has been guided mainly by what students in undergraduate school in biology found in interviews conducted among residents of natural protected areas. The focus of the topics is on what students in fifth and sixth grades want and need  to know, what they already know, and their level of comprehension. Their knowledge base is the starting point.

A working assumption is that the educational materials designed and developed for this level would be a good level of information for the general public. The site is advertised for the general public to use, learn, and find entertainment regarding the protected areas of Jalisco.

Another working assumption is that if people learn more about natural protected areas,  they are more likely to visit recreational areas that have facilities to use these areas as a source of entertainment. This would increase both their appreciation of nature and the quality of their leisure time: more exercise, better lifestyles.

Previous experience has shown that even though computer ownership is not very high in Mexico, or in Jalisco for that matter, providing opportunities on the Web to get information about parks is an idea welcomed by specialists and non-specialists. Journal articles, TV-news, as well as school teachers and common people have reported good use of the Web site “” launched in 2003 by one of the authors of this paper. This new Web site is being developed with similar objectives in mind.

In the new Web site we keep in mind how knowledge and perceptions are processed to make sense to young students. So as users develop questions, the intention is to answer them on the Web site, trying to contextualize the whole situation.

Recreation, A Driving Force For The Web Site

Using the topic of recreation proposed by Manning (2005) in the outline of his book Studies in Outdoor Recreation: search and research for satisfaction, the research topics focus on practical issues to guide new research questions.

The research topics discussed in the Q&A’s will be as follows: social aspects of outdoor recreation: use and users; descriptive aspects of outdoor recreation: attitudes, preferences, and perceptions; carrying capacity: (focusing in both landscapes and soundscapes); crowding: use level, perceived crowding, and satisfaction; indicators and standards of quality; motivations and benefits in recreation (behavioral); the recreation opportunity spectrum; recreation conflict; substitutability: alternative recreation opportunities; management issues; principles and practices of outdoor recreation.


Using a Web site to bring together students, park users, park managers, park dwellers, and university professors has been a rewarding experience in previous projects, as well as the current one discussed in this demonstration and paper. The Internet provides unexplored opportunities to develop skills and creative resources to engage students in building the Web site. Developing the site involves users who do actually go to the parks, as well as potential visitors. Another way the Web site serves its users is just by providing information, as a public relations venture, about what we are doing, what we have, and what we ought to preserve for future generations.


We appreciate the support provided by all the students since 1995 who have participated in research projects that support this Web site. Particular thanks to Margarita Posadas Malagón,and  Margarita Anaya Corona. Special appreciation to the members of the public who in anonymous collaboration have contributed their information to give shape to products like this Web site with the hope that their participation would better serve the community.


Hernández-Zacarías, C.C. (2006). La percepción y el conocimiento en niños de la Ciudad de México sobre las selvas tropicales. Master thesis. CUCBA-UdeG.

Lobo-Ramírez, E. M. E. (2005). Educación ambiental en el Jardín Botánico de San Luis Potosi. Percepciones y actividades de los prestadores de servicio social. Master Thesis. CUCBA-UdeG.

Manning, R. (2005). Studies in outdoor recreation: search and research for satisfaction. 2nd ed.  Oregon State University Press. 

Ramírez-Quintana-Carr,. A.I., & M. Posadas-Malagón  (2004). Valores manifestados sobre el bosque La Primavera por jóvenes residentes aledaños. Published in: Doc. Tecnico del VI Congreso Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas de México, Nov. 2004. Monterrey, N. L. p.48.

Ramírez-Quintana-Carr, A.I.; M. Posadas. & C.M. Anaya  (2006). Bosque Los Colomos, a través de la visión de sus Usuarios. Published in Proceedings III Seminario Nacional sobre Paisaje. CDROM. Eds. Roberto Novelo González, Luz Elena Claudio García.

Ramírez-Quintana-Carr, A., I. Brito-Palacios (2006) Measuring public interest and the New Environmental Paradigm in the transformation of a public park into a protected area “Los Colomos” forest, Guadalajara , Mexico. Abstract published In Exploring the Nature of Management: Proceedings of the Third International conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitor Flows in Recreational and Protected Areas. Rapperswil , Switzerland , 13-17 September, 2006. p. 372-373. Dominik Siegrist, Christophe Clivaz, Marcel Hunziker & Sophia Iten Editors. Available

Ramírez-Quintana-Carr, A. I.,  M.C. Carrillo, H. Brito-Palacios,  O. Pérez-Peña,  & M. Posadas- Malagón. (2006). Percepciones, medios de comunicación y expectativas del público acerca del bosque La Primavera como un bien común. Published in: I Foro de Investigación y Conservación del Bosque La Primavera 22-23 de septiembre de 2005, Zapopan, Jalisco, Editor: Ana Luisa Santiago Pérez. Dep. Producción forestal CUCBA-UdeG. p 264-271.

Ramírez-Quintana-Carr, A.I., S. Mayorga-Castañeda,  M.-C.Carrillo,  M. Posadas,  P. Pérez,  P.H. Brito (2007). “Percepciones sobre el bosque La Primavera: una encuesta en la Zona Metropolitana de Guadalajara”. En el libro: “Ciudades y regiones sustentables. Ordenamiento-viabilidad económica-ciudadanía. Memorias del VI Seminario - Taller Internacional de la Red Mexicana de Ciudades hacia la Sustentabilidad (RMCS), , del Seminario realizado en Octubre 2005, en Guadalajara, Jalisco. p.415-428. Compiladores: Jesús Rodríguez y Rodríguez, y Alfonso X. Iracheta Cenecorta. Editado por la Secretaría de Desarrolllo Urbano del Gobierno de Jalisco, y a Red Mexicana de Ciudades hacia la Sustentabilida sede: El Colegio Mexiquense, A.C. ISBN: 970-669-087-5. Impreso en México.

Cite as:

Ramìrez-Q.-Carr, A., et al., An Overview of the Natural Protected Areas in Jalisco, in J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds.). Museums and the Web 2007: Proceedings, Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, published March 1, 2007 Consulted

Editorial Note