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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   One of the truly wild places in Guatemala is the east-western mountain range that runs through the country’s southeast highlands. The mountains encompass part of the Baja Verapaz and Izabal departments at the eastern part of Guatemala City. Protection of the area is particularly important because it contains an estimated 60 percent of Guatemala’s remaining cloud forest. Because of its geographic isolation, and wide range of elevation, the Sierra is home to at least 885 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. More than 17 distinct species of evergreen forest are endemic to the area. The area is considered as an irreplaceable seed resource for reforestation and agroforestry throughout the tropics. Although human intervention (almost 43,200 inhabitants (1990) live in the reserve) is critical to the range’s long-term protection, a great deal of the range’s habitats have been protected from agriculture by its distinctive natural features: steep hillsides, shallow soils, and changeable weather. Because the heart of the mountains is composed of jade and marble, mining has been carried out here for centuries. ( thus the name, which means mountain range of the mines). The reserve’s managers are engaged in environmental education for local community leaders, many of who are Kekchi Maya. The goal is to discourage ongoing migration into the forest and to establish sustainable agricultural activities instead. Ecotourism is considered an important economic alternative.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests /Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Subtropical thorn forest characterized by Cactus spp., Guayacum spp., Acacia farnesiana and Bucida macrostachys; premontane dry subtropical forest with Encyclia diota, Ceiba aesculifolia and Leucaena guatemalensis; premontane tropical wet forest characterized by Orbignya cohune, Terminalia amazonia, Pinus caribaea and Manilkara zapota; lower montane subtropical moist forest with Pinus oocarpa, Quercus spp., Alnus jorulensis and Encyclia selligera; cloud forest including Alfaroa costaricensis, Brunellia mexicana, Gunnera spp., Magnolia guatemalensis etc.; agroecosystems with coffee, rice, maize etc.; pasture land Tillandsias distribution
  Location   15°04' to 15°20'N; 89°18' to 89°44'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   236,626
  Core area(s)   103,061
  Buffer zone(s)   38,769 (zona de uso sostenible)
  Transition area(s) when given   94,796 (of which zona de recuperación: 4,177)
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +150 to +3,015
  Year designated   1992
  Administrative authorities   Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza
  Brief description   Flora / fauna
Rare and endangered species
Sustainable agriculture
Social sciences studies
Traditional land use systems
Hunting studies
Reptiles of the River Jones basin
Recommendations on management of the biosphere reserve
Dynamics of deforestation
Relationship between the Chiroptera community and the vegetation along an altitudinal gradient
Orchids diversity
Tilandsias distribution
Variation of bird species as a function of altitude and distance from the agricultural front
Abundance, habitat and migration of the howler monkey
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Habitat.
  Biodiversity   Birds, fauna, flora, invertebrates/insects/spiders, mammals, migrating populations/migration, plants, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, tropical humid forest, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, hunting, social/socio-economic aspects, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Land use/Land cover, management issues, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Jorme Mario Monzón
Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de las Minas, Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza
7 avenida 7-09, zona 13, Interior complejo Deportivo Ramiro de León Carpio
01013 Ciudad de Guatemala
  Telephone   (502) 779 360 681
(502) 795 953 41
  Web site

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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