Piedra Canteada park, a rural cooperative near Nanacamilpa, generated massive amounts of tourism by looking to the thousands of the fireflies, rather than commercial logging, to rejuvenate the local economy.
“In the village of Nanacamilpa, tiny fireflies are helping save the towering pine and fir trees on the outskirts of the megalopolis of Mexico City.
Thousands of them light up a magical spectacle at dusk in the old-growth forests on reserves such as the Piedra Canteada park, about 45 miles (75km) east ofMexico’s sprawling capital city.
Piedra Canteada in Tlaxcala state isn’t a government-run park, but a rural cooperative that has managed to emerge from poverty and dependence on logging with the help of the fireflies.
For years, economic forces, including low prices for farm produce, forced rural communities like Piedra Canteada to cut down trees and sell the logs. Then, in 1990, community leader Genaro Rueda Lopez got the idea that the forest could bring tourism revenue from campers.
Business was slow for years. Then in 2011, community members realized the millions of fireflies that appear between June and August could draw tourists from larger cities where few people have seen them in significant numbers. Indeed, around the world, deforestation and urban growth are threatening the more than 2,000 species of fireflies with extinction.
Five years later, the park’s cabins and camp spaces are sold out weeks in advance, with the attraction especially popular among families with young children and couples seeking a romantic setting…”