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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   The Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén region of northern Guatemala, together with the Maya Forest of Belize and Mexico represents one of the largest areas of tropical forest north of the Amazon and the northernmost tropical forest in the Western Hemisphere. It is also the site of three contiguous UNESCO recognized biosphere reserves: the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, Calakmul and Montes Azules Biosphere Reserves in the southern Mexico. The reserve has seven core areas, and includes four national parks and three wildlife reserves which contain high and medium lowland forest, inundated savannas, small fields of pine, caves and rocky habitats, lakes and lagoons, rivers and wetlands and remnant mangrove forests. The multiple use zone is composed of tropical forest dedicated to the sustainable harvest of zate palms, chicle gum, all spice and timber. A southerly-located buffer zone has been rapidly changing from a forested landscape with scattered agricultural patches to an agricultural landscape with an increasingly fragmented forest. The population of Petén has grown from 25,000 to more than 500,000 (2002) during the last 30 years. Most of these people have settled in regions south of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, but as lands in the southern Petén are occupied and new logging and oil roads are opened in the reserve, increasing pressure is applied to the biosphere itself. The Tikal World Heritage site is a core area. The site brings 180,000 national and international tourists each year, and as a result tourism is the single largest income producer. Promoting diverse sources of income-generation for local people is a major concern. Guatemalan and international conservationists work on core area delimitation and protection, combining efforts to find economic alternatives to slash-and-burn farming in order to forge a new future for local populations in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests including wetlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   High and medium altitude forest with bread-nut tree (Brosiumum alicastrun), West Indian mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Bloma prisca, Vitex guameri, cedar (Cedrela odorata) etc.; lowland forest with Bucida buceras, Haematoxylum campechianum, Cocolobo sp. etc.; inundated savannas; small fields of pine with Pinus caribea; caves and rocky habitats; natural wells; lakes and lagoons; rivers; wetlands including fresh water bodies, lagoons; remnant mangrove forest with Rhizophora mangle; forestry systems with Swietenia humilis, Brosiumum alicastrum, Pimenta dioica etc.; human settlements; agroecosystems; pasture land
  Location   N: 17°49'N; 89°09'W
S: 16°48'N; 90°33' W
E: 17°49'N; 89°09'W
W: 17°15'N; 91°26'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,112,940
  Core area(s)   767,000
  Buffer zone(s)   848,440 (multiple use area)
  Transition area(s) when given   497,500
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +50 to +636
  Year designated   1990
  Administrative authorities   Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) Center for Conservation Studies (CECON) administrate the Biotopos Instituto de Antropología e Historia (IDAEH) administrate the Parque National Tikal
  Brief description   Biological monitoring in the Maya forest
Population dynamics of Crocodylus moreletii
Ecology of bird species
Biology and conservation of parrots
Inventory and abundance of fauna
Population dynamics: fishery pressures in the San Pedro River
Use and management of natural resources
Impacts of recreation and tourism
Implementation of a code for best practices and certification of tourist quality in the biosphere reserve
Conservation through sustainable development
Monitoring of biodiversity: Impacts of subsistence hunting on populations of jaguar and pumas
Diversity of vascular plants in the rainforest and their use
Management of native cyclids in cultivation
Development of the Uaxactún community, based in the project of hunting and conservation of the turkey (Pavo ocelado), in the Uaxactún integrated forestry concession in Flores, Petén
Investigation of harvesting of traditional non-timber forest products such as chicle (Manilkara zapota) and xate (Chamaedorea spp.)
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   n.a.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, biology, birds, conservation, degraded areas, ecology, fauna, methodologies, natural resources, plants, population genetics/population dynamics, reptiles, species inventorying/inventory.
  Socio-economic   Aquaculture/Mariculture, fishery/fisheries, hunting, non-timber forest products/ntfp, quality economies, recreation, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, management issues, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Edin López Tejada
Director de Unidades de Conservación. Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP)
5 Avenida 6-06 zona 1 Edif. IPM5, 6 y 7 nivel
 Ciudad de Guatemala
  Telephone   (502) 2422-6700
(502) 2422-6707
  Fax   (502) 253 4141
  Web site

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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