Petén-Veracruz moist forests

Last updated
Petén-Veracruz moist forests

Forest in Tikal Guatemala.jpg

Forest surrounding ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
Ecology
Biome Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest
Borders
Bird species 468 [1]
Mammal species 191 [1]
Geography
Area 149,100 km2 (57,600 sq mi)
Countries Mexico, Belize and Guatemala
Conservation
Conservation status critical/endangered
Habitat loss 23.595% [1]
Protected 24.25% [1]

The Petén-Veracruz moist forests ecoregion, of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest Biome, is found in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Ecoregion Ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion

An ecoregion is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than an ecozone. All three of these are either less or greater than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural communities and species. The biodiversity of flora, fauna and ecosystems that characterise an ecoregion tends to be distinct from that of other ecoregions. In theory, biodiversity or conservation ecoregions are relatively large areas of land or water where the probability of encountering different species and communities at any given point remains relatively constant, within an acceptable range of variation.

Biome Distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate

A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. "Biome" is a broader term than "habitat"; any biome can comprise a variety of habitats.

Belize country in Central America

Belize is an independent and sovereign country located on the north eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by Guatemala. It has an area of 22,970 square kilometres (8,867 sq mi) and a population of 387,879 (2017). Its mainland is about 180 mi (290 km) long and 68 mi (110 km) wide. It has the lowest population and population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year (2015) is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

Contents

Setting

The Petén-Veracruz moist forests cover an area of 149,100 square kilometers (57,600 sq mi), extending from central Veracruz state across portions of the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Campeche, as well as northern Guatemala and most of Belize. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests mostly occupy a coastal lowland with meandering rivers, and includes the Lacandon Forest of Chiapas and the Petén Basin of Guatemala.

Veracruz State of Mexico

Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, is one of the 31 states that, along with the Mexico city, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is Xalapa-Enríquez.

Oaxaca State of Mexico

Oaxaca, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, make up the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 570 municipalities, of which 418 are governed by the system of usos y costumbres with recognized local forms of self-governance. Its capital city is Oaxaca de Juárez.

Tabasco State of Mexico

Tabasco, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Tabasco, is one of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa. It is located in the southeast of the country bordering the states of Campeche to the northeast, Veracruz to the west and Chiapas to the south, and the Petén department of Guatemala to the southeast. It has a coastline to the north with the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the state is covered in rainforest as, unlike most other areas of Mexico, it has plentiful rainfall year round. For this reason, it is also covered in small lakes, wetlands and rivers. The state is subject to major flooding events, with the last occurring in 2007, which affected eighty percent of the state. The state is also home to La Venta, the major site of the Olmec civilization, considered to be the origin of later Mesoamerican cultures. Even though it produces significant quantities of petroleum and natural gas, poverty is still a concern.

Adjacent ecoregions

The ecoregion is bounded on the south by a series of mountain ranges and highlands, including the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Chiapas Plateau, and Guatemalan Highlands, where the lowland Petén-Veracruz forests yield to montane moist forests and pine-oak forests. In central Veracruz, the Veracruz dry forests separate the Petén-Veracruz moist forests from the Veracruz moist forests further north. The western portion of the ecoregion mostly extends to the Gulf of Mexico, although the montane forests of the Sierra de los Tuxtlas and the flooded forests and wetlands of the Pantanos de Centla constitute distinct ecoregions.

Sierra Madre de Oaxaca

The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca is a mountain range in southern Mexico. It is primarily in the state of Oaxaca, and extends north into the states of Puebla and Veracruz.

Sierra Madre de Chiapas mountain in Central America

The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is a major mountain range in Central America. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.

Guatemalan Highlands upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north; made up of a series of high valleys enclosed by mountains

The Guatemalan Highlands is an upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north. The highlands are made up of a series of high valleys enclosed by mountains. The local name for the region is Altos, meaning "highlands", which includes the northern declivity of the Sierra Madre. The mean elevation is greatest in the west and least in the east. A few of the streams of the Pacific slope actually rise in the highlands, and force a way through the Sierra Madre at the bottom of deep ravines. One large river, the Chixoy or Salinas River, escapes northwards towards the Gulf of Mexico. The relief of the mountainous country which lies north of the Highlands and drains into the Atlantic is varied by innumerable terraces, ridges and underfalls; but its general configuration is compared by E. Reclus with the appearance of "a stormy sea breaking into parallel billows". The parallel ranges extend east and west with a slight southerly curve towards their centres. A range called the Sierra de Chamá, which, however, changes its name frequently from place to place, strikes eastward towards Belize, and is connected by low hills with the Cockscomb Mountains; another similar range, the Sierra de Santa Cruz, continues east to Cape Cocoli between the Polochic and the Sarstoon; and a third, the Sierra de las Minas or, in its eastern portion, Sierra del Mico, stretches between the Polochic and the Motagua rivers. Between Honduras and Guatemala, the frontier is formed by the Sierra de Merendón.

The eastern portion of the ecoregion is bounded on the north by the Yucatán moist forests, which extend east and west across the Yucatán Peninsula. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests extend east to the Caribbean Sea in Belize, surrounding enclaves of Belizean pine forests in the Maya Mountains and near the coast. The Belizean Coast mangroves run along the Caribbean coast.

Yucatán moist forests

The Yucatán moist forests are an ecoregion of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests Biome, as defined by the World Wildlife Fund.

Yucatán Peninsula peninsula in North America

The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America. It is approximately 181,000 km2 (70,000 sq mi) in area, and is almost entirely composed of limestone.

Caribbean Sea A sea of the Atlantic Ocean bounded by North, Central, and South America

The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and south west, to the north by the Greater Antilles starting with Cuba, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the north coast of South America.

People

The northern Petén-Veracruz moist forests were home to the Olmec culture, which built cities between 1200 and 400 BCE. The Classic Maya civilisation (250-900 CE) was centered in the eastern and southern portions of the ecoregion, from Tabasco and northern Chiapas across northern Guatemala to Belize.

Maya civilization Mesoamerican former civilization

The Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization developed by the Maya peoples, and noted for its logosyllabic script—the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in pre-Columbian Americas—as well as for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in an area that encompasses southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. This region consists of the northern lowlands encompassing the Yucatán Peninsula, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, running from the Mexican state of Chiapas, across southern Guatemala and onwards into El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain.

Today, modern Mayan people inhabit the eastern portion of the ecoregion, while Mixe–Zoque and Nahuatl peoples inhabit the western portion.

Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Conservation

The ecoregion contains a number of protected areas, including the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. It is ranked Critical/Endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.

See also

Related Research Articles

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

The Huastec or Téenek, are an indigenous people of Mexico, living in the La Huasteca region including the states of Hidalgo, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas concentrated along the route of the Pánuco River and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in Mexico

The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico. The Sierra Madre Oriental is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

Geography of Mesoamerica geographic area and features of Mesoamerica, a culture area in the Americas inhabited by complex indigenous pre-Columbian cultures, such as, the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, the Aztec and the Purépecha

The geography of Mesoamerica describes the geographic features of Mesoamerica, a culture area in the Americas inhabited by complex indigenous pre-Columbian cultures exhibiting a suite of shared and common cultural characteristics. Several well-known Mesoamerican cultures include the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, the Aztec and the Purépecha. Mesoamerica is often subdivided in a number of ways. One common method, albeit a broad and general classification, is to distinguish between the highlands and lowlands. Another way is to subdivide the region into sub-areas that generally correlate to either culture areas or specific physiographic regions.

Sierra Madre de Oaxaca pine-oak forests

The Sierra Madre de Oaxaca pine-oak forests is an ecoregion of the Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests biome, in Southern Mexico.

Pantanos de Centla

The Pantanos de Centla is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in southern Mexico, which includes seasonally flooded forests and wetlands, in the summer.

Thicket tinamou species of bird

The thicket tinamou or rufescent tinamou is a type of tinamou commonly found in moist forests in subtropical and tropical central Mexico.

The Veracruz moist forests are a moist ecoregion, in the moist tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest biome, in eastern moist Mexico.

Tamaulipan matorral

The Tamaulipan matorral is an ecoregion in the deserts and xeric shrublands biome on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Madre Oriental range in northeastern Mexico. It is a transitional ecoregion between the Tamaulipan mezquital and the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests to the west and the Veracruz moist forests to the south. It is a desert shrubland where the flora mainly consists of woody shrubs, small trees, cacti, and succulents. Piedmont scrub occurs in shallow hollows and montane chaparral occurs above about 1,700 m (5,600 ft). There are a number of resident bird species and the mammals include Mexican prairie dog, Saussure's shrew, yellow-faced pocket gopher, Allen's squirrel, collared peccary and coyote.

Central American pine-oak forests

The Central American pine-oak forests ecoregion, in the tropical and subtropical coniferous forests biome, is found in Central America and Chiapas state of southern Mexico.

The Central America bioregion is a biogeographic region comprising southern Mexico and Central America.

Spanish conquest of the Maya Conquest dating from 1511 to 1697

The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a protracted conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas, in which the Spanish conquistadores and their allies gradually incorporated the territory of the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. The Maya occupied a territory that is now incorporated into the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador; the conquest began in the early 16th century and is generally considered to have ended in 1697.

Meso-American slider species of reptile

The Meso-American slider is a species of turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. The species is distributed from Mexico to Colombia.

Central American montane forests

The Central American montane forests are an ecoregion of the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, as defined by the World Wildlife Fund, located in mountains of Central America.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M. D.; Boucher, T. M.; Robertson, J. C.; Heibel, T. J.; Ellison, K. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN   978-0-520-26256-0.