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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Biodiversity & Land Use | Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes

Protecting the life of a frog

Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes


As its principle raison d’être, the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes (UAA) implements various measures to promote environmental awareness among youth on how to take care of the world in which we live and safeguard its biodiversity.

Within the campus, alongside the classrooms, there is a nature reserve of 28,000m2 where the desert endemic species Prosopis glandulosa or mezquite is preserved, a tree that has historic, cultural links to the people of México. The university has a special herbarium with a collection of almost 19,000 specimens of native plants, ornamental plants and weeds. Its Management Unit for Wildlife Conservation, registered in 2006, supports environmental education and the rehabilitation of birds injured or raised in captivity. Off campus, in the area of the Sierra Fria (part of the Sierra Madre Occidental) 254 hectares are dedicated to basic science research and the collection of flora and fauna.

The university undertakes studies for government authorities in the most pressing social wellbeing, for example, the landfill in the municipality of the capital and in studies of cracks in the ground that directly affect urban planning.

The UAA has recently established a protected area south of the capital city of the state, to preserve a particular frog, Smilisca dentate, endemic to the region.

Preserving the frog

Unfortunately, a third of worldwide amphibian species are struggling to survive, and many have disappeared in the last three decades. Habitat destruction, fragmentation and alteration, increase in UV light, climatic change, water pollution, environment degradation and infectious diseases are some factors responsible.

Smilisca dentata is a clear example of the crisis we face. This frog is disappearing as you are reading. Out of 438 vertebrate species known in Aguascalientes, only this one is widespread; found in southern Aguascalientes and northern Jalisco in central México, it has been studied in depth.

In January 2008, the government group, Committee of the Environment, provided financial support for the university’s conservation of the area where the Smilisca dentata lives. Artificial barriers were constructed to prevent the amphibians from crossing roads. Bridges have also been built to encourage fauna and develop the habitat. Finally, the local lighting system has been replaced by a more environmentally responsible system.

With a 37-year history, the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes is a young institution of higher education, committed to preservation of the environment by generating specific solutions to current problems. As the largest public university in the region, it carries out leading scientific and academic research in environmental care. In 2009, it was honoured nationally as an outstanding institution in the academic strengthening and institutional development, thereby ensuring the quality of education.

Living by the sword

In accordance with its environmental stance, the recent growth in infrastructure has followed the parameters of the so-called ‘green buildings’, self-sufficient in energy supply facilities, on a campus that includes extensive green areas in which students cohabit with various typical species of the regional biota.

Located in Aguascalientes, the semiarid region of central México, one of the primary educational efforts is the investigation of sustainable use and conservation of water, in addition to control and use of rainwater. There are on-campus wastewater treatment plants, a programme of biological and infectious waste and a recycling programme for organic products. In everyday administrative and operational activities, it encourages the use of recycled materials when appropriate.

The Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes offers study through to PhD level on environmental themes including biology, biochemical engineering, environmental science, biochemical analysis, agronomy, agro engineering, urban planning, industrial design and public health. At the postgraduate level, it offers programmes in biotechnology, toxicology, agricultural, livestock and food technology.

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Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes

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