To Unesco home page

To sitemap

To MAB home page title2.gif (2287 bytes)
      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Situated on the Caribbean coast in the southeast of the country, on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula in the State of Quintana, the reserve lies on a partially emerged coastal limestone plain, and includes part of the extensive barrier reef system.. It is covered by medium altitude semi-evergreen forests, medium and low altitude semi-deciduous forest; palm savannah formations, freshwater and saltwater marshes, petenes (or hammocks), mangroves and, dunes. A total of 4,000 plant and 28 mammal species have been recorded, including five species of cat, jaguar, puma, Central American tapir and Caribbean manatee. Due to the great diversity of aquatic habitats, marine and wading birds are well represented. Twenty-three Mayan sites have been recorded in the reserve, while Tulum, one of the most visited Mexican archaeological sites, the Chunyaxché ruins, Vigia del Lago and Xamach, are just to the north. There are 800 inhabitants (1999) mainly of Mayan origin, living in the reserve and practicing subsistence agriculture, and fishing, . The reserve is subject to important pressures from tourism, immigration and colonization. Research is focusing on basic science and its application to the management and conservation of natural resources. El Ramonal experimental plot has been used to develop agricultural techniques that preserve the delicate Yucatan soil, using mixed cropping and crop rotation. Twinned with Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve in Cuba, it is also envisaging an agreement with the Everglades National Park in the USA.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests; wetlands; coastal and marine ecosystems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Semi-evergreen tropical humid forest; mangroves; marshlands; coastal dunes; woodlands; water bodies; coastal lagoons; marine bays influenced by freshwater; coral reefs; agriculture
  Location   19°05' to 20°06'N; 87°30' to 87°58'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   528,148
  Core area(s)   279,704
  Buffer zone(s)   248,444
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +10
  Year designated   1986
  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/Fax: (998) 849 75 54 E-mail:;
  Brief description   Coastal hydrologic research
Coastal edaphologic research
Coral reef monitoring (characterization, distribution, and species cover)
Bird monitoring
Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii monitoring
Vegetation cover monitoring
Productive activities monitoring (fishery, tourism)
Socioeconomic research
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Hydrology, soil.
  Biodiversity   Birds, coastal/marine, coral reefs, methodologies, reptiles, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Fishery/Fisheries, monitoring methodologies, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Francisco Ursúa Guerrero
Reserva de Biosfera Sian Ka'an
Km. 4.8 Boulevard Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera
77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo
  Telephone   (52.98) 83 05 24
  Fax   (52.98) 83 05 63
  Web site

Last updated: 18/09/2007

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO