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      Biosphere Reserve Information



© Photo: Montes Azules BR
  General Description   Montes Azules is located in the Selva Lacadona region in the State of Chiapas in southeast Mexico, between the Lacantum and Locania Rivers. It comprises 331,200 hectares inside the area of forestry protection (1978) of the Lacandona Forest. It is one of the largest areas of humid tropical forest in Mexico and Central America with areas of pine forest in higher altitudes and mountain rainforest. The reserve and surrounding forest contain some 500 species of trees. More recently, the forest has been exploited for chicle and mahogany, but has not been seriously altered , even though wood clearing is recognized as a serious threat. It comprises a mixture of federal, communal system and private lands . Rather than viewing this overlap of protected area and indigenous territory as a threat, Tzeltal, Chol, and Lacandon Maya communities see the Montes Azules reserve as a buffer against outside threats to their land. Some 75,400 people (2002) live in the reserve mainly engaged in local agriculture. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico is obliged to import corn and other products, by signing a duty free import quota of 2,5 million metric tons over 15 years affecting the local agriculture of corn, chile, coffee and palm ‘xate’ seriously. The challenge remains to ameliorate life conditions of local communities respecting their traditions and practices into an ecologically sustainable mosaic of food production, agro-forestry, and small-scale cattle production forest reserves.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests (tropical rain forest)
  Major habitats & land cover types   Tropical rain forest; pine-oak forest; cloud forest; riparian vegetation; "acahuales" (tropical rain forest secondary vegetation); agriculture and live stock farming systems
  Location   16°05' to 16°57'N; 90°45' to 91°30'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   331,200
  Core area(s)   256,434 (These includes: Preservation zone (22,288 ha) and Conservation zone (234,146 ha))
  Buffer zone(s)   74,766 (These includes the Natural Resources Sustainable Management zone)
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +200 to +1,460
  Year designated   1979
  Administrative authorities   Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP); Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT). Camino al Ajusco 200, 3er piso, Jardines en la Montaña, Tlalpan, C.P. 14210, México, D.F. Tel. (960) 602 22 19; (960) 602 22 61 Fax: (960) 602 22 23 E-mail:;;;
  Brief description   Natural resources and impact monitoring
Hydrological basins and climatic conditions monitoring
Land use change tendencies monitoring
Natural resources ecological studies
Productive diversification and agroecological alternative studies
Ethnobiological studies
Ecological restoration
Socioeconomic studies
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies.
  Biodiversity   Ecology, indicators, methodologies, natural resources, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, social/socio-economic aspects, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, land use/land cover, monitoring/methodologies.
  Contact address   Julio Romani Cortés
Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve
4a. Norte Oriente No. 1917, entre 18 Oriente Norte y Privada 18 Oriente, 3er. Piso, col. Santos
29040 Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
  Telephone   (52.960) 602 22 19
(52.960) 602 22 61
  Fax   (52.960) 602 22 23
  Web site

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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