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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Tacaná Volcano, shared in the borderline with Guatemala, is part of the Central American Core (Nucleo Centroamericano) volcanic chain. It contains fragile ecosystems very rich in wild flora and fauna species of cultural, scientific, economic and biological relevance. Its rich biodiversity and high endemism are found particularly in the high mountain ecosystem and landscapes and in the volcanic edifice which presents geophysical features of great scientific and aesthetic value, representative of humid environments of Andean origin that are found in Mexico.
Nowhere else in the Pacific Coast of Mexico or in Central America except for Guatemala precipitations reach 2000 mm to 5000 mm per year, as in the Soconusco. The result is that only in this area of the vast Mexican slope of the Pacific are there dense and high rainforests which could be compared to the ones found in the most humid regions in the Atlantic Ocean. The main types of ecosystems found in the Tacaná Vocano area are terrestrial and they are represented basically by: Middle evergreen forests, hard and flat leaves forests (oak), forests of acicular or scale-like leaves (pines) and high moors which is characteristic and unique in Chiapas and in the country. There are aquatic ecosystems in the region, from which we highlight the Coatan River and the Suchiate River because they have permanent affluents.
Regarding socio-cultural aspects, the last Mexican population of the indigenous group Mame are found in the Reserve, in the high zones of the municipalities of Unión Juárez, Cacahoatán and Tapachula, who still keep their language and traditions. In the region, the Ireland farm is where organic coffee production started for the first time in Mexico. In the communities located particularly in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas, a new opportunity for development is emerging with the implementation of alternative plantations, such as organic coffee. Moreover, Chiapas is the main organic coffee-producing region in the world*. This has been combined with the application of good practices for farming and extraction of natural resources; such strategy has helped producers to reach other supportive markets that acknowledge the protection of natural resources. This is no exception in the Tacaná, since there are crops in the transition zone, such as cacao and coffee, corn, natural pastures and fruit trees. Through investment and training in good practices, the management of coffee and cacao plantations may become model activities of sustainable development by allowing producers the access to fair markets as for example the market of organic products.
  Major ecosystem type  
  Major habitats & land cover types  
  Location   15º09’32’’ - 15º04’04’’ latitude N and 92º04’22’’ - 92º11’24’’
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   6,378
  Core area(s)   3,844
  Buffer zone(s)   2,534
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   1,300-4,100 m
  Year designated   2006
  Administrative authorities   Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas
  Brief description   There is a Biological Monitoring Programme on Natural Protected Areas (NPA) implemented by the Natural History and Ecology Institute (in Spanish: Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecología - IHNyE) of the Government of the State of Chiapas, which carries out the project named “Biological Monitoring of Natural Protected Areas”. This aims to determine the status of the biodiversity conservation in the NPA. There is a team of 3 monitors and one coordinator who visit each town 5 times a year to record the presence of species of medium-sized and large mammals, detected through their trail or direct sightings; species of amphibians and reptiles, as well as birds detected through sightings or auditory registers; records of the species of adult tree vegetation registered through a census in 12 plots.
The monitoring of Ergaticus versicolor generates an interest of great importance of the site for exploration of ideal sites to monitor the distribution and population composition of this species, focal in the conservation of its habitat within the reserve because of its status of Endangered species in the NOM-059-ECOL-2001 and its status of threatened species according to the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU).
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, climate, geology, habitat, hydrology, indicators, meteorology, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, soil, topography.
  Biodiversity   Alien/Invasive/Exotic/Introduced species, amphibians, autoecology/synecology, biodiversity, biogeography, biology, birds, community studies/communities, conservation, degraded areas, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, ethology, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, flora, forest systems, genetic resources, indicators, invertebrates/insects/spiders, mammals, migrating populations/migration, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, mountain and highland systems, natural medicinal products, natural resources, phenology, phytosociology/succession, plants, pollination, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, taxonomy, temperate forest, tropical humid forest, vegetation studies/plant cover, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, anthropological studies/anthropology, bioprospecting, capacity building, cultural aspects, demography, economically important species, energy production systems/alternative energy, forestry, human health, indicators, indicators of sustainability, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, modelling, monitoring methodologies, non-timber forest products/ntfp, people-nature relations/man/nature, poverty, quality economies, recreation, resource use, role of women/gender, sacred sites, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Carrying capacity/Sustainability, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, indicators, infrastructure, institutional and legal aspects, interdisciplinary studies, land tenure, land use/land cover, management issues, mapping, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, remote sensing, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, transboundary/transfrontiers.
  Contact address   Alejandro Portillo Vargas
Palacio Federal 3er. Piso, Segunda Oriente-Norte, No. 227. Col. Centro, Palenque, Chiapas
  Web site

Last updated: 3/8/2011

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