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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   Located at the south-eastern tip of the State of Quintana Roo in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve encompasses within over 144,866 ha a mosaic of open water, sea grass beds, mangroves, sand beaches and coral reefs that is considered one of the most outstanding marine sites in the region. Banco Chinchorro is the biggest platform type reef complex system in Mexico and because of its isolated position, it represents well-preserved natural ecosystems.

Corals characterize the area and form a circular strip made up of coral islets, which constitute the morphological structure of Banco Chinchorro. Due to this coral topography and the irregular submarine topography and orientation, a great diversity of habitats co-exist. Some 95 coral species have been inventoried.

Only 0.4% of the core area of the biosphere reserve is terrestrial and is strongly influenced by the sea. The saline substratum allows only the growth of halophyte or coastal dune vegetation and mangroves. The buffer area comprises the large area of the coral circular strip and a large marine zone to a depth of 60 meters.

Seagrass beds are abundant in the Cayo Norte zone and in the interior lagoon of Cayo Centro, serving as reproduction and breeding refuges of way ecologically and economically important species. In this latter category, the two main species of importance are found: the Caribbean lobster (Panulirus argus) and the conch (Strombus gigas).

There are three coral systems: Coyo Norte, Cayo Centro and Cayo Lobos, which form the three core areas. The transition area encompasses the fishing village gathering the 90 inhabitants of the Biosphere Reserve along the mainland coast. In order to minimize the effects of tourism and fishing activities, the local communities were fully consulted during the implementation of the management policy. They are involved and participate in the administration of the biosphere reserve through the Consejo Asesor of the Biosphere Reserve, which is made up of representatives of the different interested parties.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical coastal, marine and reef system
  Major habitats & land cover types   Coral reef system; seagrass beds; mangroves; arenales sand dune systems; Coastal dune vegetation
  Location   18°40’44.24” N, 87°28’28.27’’ W
18°48’46.03’’ N, 87°12’01.85’’ W
18°21’37.36’’ N, 87°28’23.77’’ W
18°21’39.10’’ N, 87°11’59.95’’ W
  Area (hectares)    
  Core area(s)   4,587.5 marine and 505 hectares terrestrial
  Buffer zone(s)   139,773.5
  Transition area(s) when given   Coastal area and 30 km of sea between mainland and Banco Chinchorro
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0-3 meters above sea level and 60 meters below sea level
  Year designated   2003
  Administrative authorities   Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT); Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP); and directly the Dirección de la Reserva de la Biosfera Banco Chinchorro
  Brief description   Meteorological and climate studies (tides and hurricanes)
Hydrological and geomorphological monitoring and research

Coral reefs monitoring (species diversity, species distribution, disease)
Fish larva monitoring
Coral, birds, crocodile studies
Conch and lobster population dynamics
Abundance and diversity zooplancton monitoring
Flora and fauna inventory

Fishing and tourism monitoring
Population survey
Marketing studies to develop tourism (including visit to shipwrecks)

Detailed study on marine currents and cycles in order to establish relations between the population dynamics of economically important species and the distribution of water pollutants.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, climate, contaminants, geology, geomorphology, green house gases measurements, hydrology, meteorology, physical oceanography/oceans, pollution, pollutants, water quality/chemistry.
  Biodiversity   Biodiversity, birds, coastal/marine, conservation, coral reefs, ethology, fauna, fishes, flora, invertebrates/insects/spiders, mangrove, natural resources, plankton, population genetics/population dynamics, reptiles, species inventorying/inventory, vegetation studies/plant cover.
  Socio-economic   Aquaculture/Mariculture, demography, economic studies, economically important species, fishery/fisheries, resource use, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   María del Carmen García Rivas

  Telephone   (52) 998 8871997
  Contact address   Orly Ronen
The Heschel Center
85 Nachalat Binyamin St
66102 Tel Aviv
  Telephone   972-3-5608788

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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