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Challenge theme 7: Information support for management of border security and environmental protection: Chapter 9 in United States-Mexican Borderlands: Facing tomorrow's challenges through USGS science

March 12, 2013

Historically, international borders were located far from the major political and economic capitals of their countries and rarely received adequate planning or infrastructure development. Today, as a result of global economics and increased movement of goods between nations, border regions play a much greater role in commerce, tourism, and transportation. For example, Mexico is the second largest destination for United States exports (Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute, 2009). The rapid population and economic growth along the United States–Mexican border, undocumented human border crossings, and the unique natural diversity of resources in the Borderlands present challenges for border security and environmental protection. Assessing risks and implementing sustainable growth policies to protect the environment and quality of life greatly increase in complexity when the issues cross an international border, where social services, environmental regulations, lifestyles, and cultural beliefs are unique for each country. Shared airsheds, water and biological resources, national security issues, and disaster management needs require an integrated binational approach to assess risks and develop binational management strategies.