Two weeks ago representatives of the Friends of the Sonoran Desert attended the 5th Tri-National Symposium Celebrating the Sonoran Desert, a gathering of scholars, biologists, historians, archaeologists, and environmentalists from the three nations of the Sonoran Desert: The U.S., Mexico, and the Tohono O’odham Nation. At this meeting, FSD launched our Tinaja Database, a public bibliography containing published literature on the effects of border barriers and border security measures on native wildlife, human communities, and ecosystems.
The Tinaja Database allows researchers and the public to share articles, read rare and difficult to find reports, and identify holes in our knowledge about the impacts of border barriers on wildlife and surrounding human communities. Perhaps most importantly, the Tinaja Database allows us to deliver scientifically rigorous information to the politicians and agencies responsible for decisions about barriers on our southern border.
The feedback from other attendees about the Tinaja Database was overwhelmingly positive. The Border Patrol’s biologists were grateful for access to a scientific database to facilitate making informed decisions about border barriers. The Sierra Club offered to produce a webinar to show interested activists, lawyers, and the general public how to access and use this database. And Tohono O'odham elders asked us to simplify the process of finding articles about the perspectives of borderland indigenous communities, which we are happy to do.
Why is the Tinaja Database so important? When the Berlin Wall fell, there were 16 border fences worldwide. Today there are 65 border fences, with more undoubtedly in the works. Border barriers are fragmenting the natural environment and impacting the natural flow of plant and animal communities worldwide. We may not be able to completely prevent the installation of border barriers, but we CAN learn to choose barriers that are less problematic for wildlife.
Detailed instructions about how to register for and use this database will soon be posted on our website.