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The Mexican rainforests are the northernmost rainforests on the American continent. They start around the latitude of Mexico City and run south at the lower elevations.
A quarter of the total area of Mexico is forest land, it also has the largest number of species of pines and oaks in the world. Other notable trees include mahogany, sapote, and ceiba (also known as pochote), the sacred tree of the Mayans.
The jungles of Mexico
The Jungles of Mexico enjoy rains throughout the year, which allows these places to have a lush planting. These jungles have different strata, in each of them it is possible to see the difference in vegetation. In the highest strata we find the great trees of 45 to 60 meters; and in the lower strata, where light is scarce, we find climbing plants, shrubs, branches and woody plants.
The Lacandon Jungle is an area that ranges from Chiapas, Mexico, to Guatemala and towards the southern part of the Yucatan peninsula. Among its many features are a large number of important Mayan archaeological sites, including Palenque.
The fauna of the tropical forest is a jewel of mega diversity, which according to government sources has 625 species of butterflies; 114 of mammals, 345 of birds and 84 of reptiles, in addition to 3,400 species of plants. The Lacandon Jungle is also home to the largest number of species of bats in the world.
After 230 thousand years of existence, it is classified among the 25 critical biological zones of the planet.
Biodiversity of Mexico
The Sierra Madre del Sur contains a diverse mosaic of vegetation types. They are said to be some of the most diverse and complex mixed subtropical pine-oak forests in the world. This ecoregion is considered one of the main endemic centers of plants in Mexico.
It is one of the main physiographic provinces of Mexico. It covers an area of approximately 9,000 km2 in the Mexican South Pacific region, and most of this ecoregion is within the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca.
Cloud forests contain a large part of the biodiversity of the Sierra Madre del Sur: 48.7% of the species in the state of Guerrero inhabit montane forests, while 43.7% inhabit pine and oak forests.
Isolated from nearby environments as a consequence of their altitude levels and steep slopes, the temperate forests of the Sierra Madre del Sur ecoregion have recently been considered an incomparable center of endemism and biodiversity.
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve
As part of their migration cycle, around 200 million monarch butterflies fly around 2,800 miles each August from Canada and the United States to spend the coldest months of the year in the forest located between the Mexican states of Michoacán and the State of Mexico. , where the protected areas of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve are located, which was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008.
During the 4 to 5 months that the butterflies stay in Mexico, the forests turn into a wonderland. When the sun warms up a bit in the morning, they spread their colorful wings and fly around the forest as a mating ritual, creating a magical scene.
Some of the most beautiful places to visit are:
- Lacandon Jungle - Chiapas
- The Sepultura - Chiapas
- El Triunfo - Chiapas
- Montes Azules - Chiapas
- Calakmul - Campeche
- Los Tuxtlas - Veracruz
- Chamela-Cuixmala - Jalisco
- Sierra de Manantlán - Jalisco and Colima
- Sierra de Huautla - Morelos
- Chacahua-La Pastoría - Oaxaca
Jungles of Mexico defined by region
Northern Mexico is dominated by desert terrain. In fact, some of the most impressive forests are found in the north, particularly in the state of Chihuahua.
The national tree is the cypress, or ahuehuete, which thrives along rivers and streams in semi-arid regions. Near Oaxaca, in the city of Tule, is the famous giant cypress (42 meters wide), which is now more than 2,000 years old.
In southern Mexico, we can find forests that are a mixture of low jungles and high deciduous forests, combined with mangroves, swamps and savannas.
The pine and oak forests of the Sierra Madre del Sur make up long mountain ranges, with great biological diversity. These are, by their conformation, some of the most diverse and complex mixed subtropical pine and oak forests in the world. Endemic species of plants, birds and mammals have also thrived in these mountain ranges offering unparalleled beauty.
Lastly, central Mexico is covered in pine and oak forests, along with a diverse undergrowth and strands of sweetgum.