To Unesco home page

To sitemap

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



  General Description   The Natural Protected Area belongs to the Physiographic Province of Eje Volcánico Transversal, that indicates the extreme South of the Mexican Altiplain and separates it from the Balsas depression. It is a discontinuous mountain system, deeply dissected by strong tectonic processes, composed by a group of mountain ranges and hills that take up 77% of the total surface, grouped in the South-Center portion and separated by small intermountain valleys 12% and plains 6%. It is composed by 5 types of vegetation: sacred fir forests, characterized by the predominance of Abies religiosa and constitutes the characteristic habitat of the Monarch Butterfly, pine-fir forests, pine forests, oak forests and cedar forests.

The Natural Protected Area is composed by 93 agriculture fields, 59 of which are ejidos, 13 indigenous communities and 21 small properties. Amongst the population center, 38 communities of Mexico and Michoacan States are inside the core zone of the Reserve.
Every autumn the Monarch Butterfly travels about 4500 kilometres from Canada and the United States to arrive to its winter habitat in Mexico in November. Here it forms aggregations of millions of individuals for a period of 5 months. The conservation of the forest ecosystem is critical for the survival of the migratory phenomenon of the Monarch Butterfly. A well-preserved ecosystem of pine-fir forests is the key for its survival, since their microclimatic conditions provide shelter during frost and winter rains.

According to the Mexican legislation, the property of agricultural land can be classified in the following categories: ejidos, common property, indigenous communities and private properties. The ejidos have a fixed number of members, each one of them having the right over a piece of land. The ejidos also include an area of common lands, in general, forest areas which are property of all the members. In the case of common lands, it can be made into plots or divided as new families are integrated to the community. Most people who live in the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve are ejidarios and community indigenous. There are also private properties inside the reserve, generally property of people who live outside the region.
  Major ecosystem type   Temperate Oak and Coniferous Forest.
  Major habitats & land cover types   Sacred Fir forest 18 %, Fir-pine forest 12%, pine forest 16% and fir-oak forest 28.5 %.
  Location   19º 59’ 42’’ - 19º18’32’’ latitude N; 100º09’54’’ - 100º06’39’’ longitude W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   56,259
  Core area(s)   13,551.5
  Buffer zone(s)   42,707.5
  Transition area(s) when given   954,993.12
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   2400 - 3600 m
  Year designated   2006
  Administrative authorities   Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas
  Brief description   Currently different projects are being developed and supported about topics related to the flora and fauna, climatic aspects and about behavioural and traditional aspects in the area, among which we should highlight the following projects: microclimatic analysis of the hibernation sites of the Monarch Butterfly in Mexico, Programme of attention to contingency during hibernation and Analysis of soil quality in the hibernation sites of the Monarch butterfly; Systematic monitoring of the hibernation areas of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Bird monitoring in the ANP, with particular interest in the species Ergaticus ruber, Certhia americana, Buarremon virenticeps and Regulus satrapa; Monitoring of fir forests; Monitoring of Juniperus montícola in the region of Sierra Chincua; Avefauna of Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve; Genetic analysis of the migrant Monarch Butterfly; Virological, Bacteriological analysis of the Monarch Butterfly; Herpetofauna of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve; Floristic inventory of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve; Magnetoreception in Monarch butterfly and the Inventory of medicinal plants and elaboration of traditional medicine, Social Monitoring of the Monarch Fund and Analysis of the groups of interest related to the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Abiotic factors, climate, contaminants, geology, geomorphology, geophysics, habitat, heavy metals, hydrology, monitoring/methodologies, soil, topography, toxicology/toxic substances.
  Biodiversity   Amphibians, autoecology/synecology, biodiversity, biogeography, biology, birds, community studies/communities, conservation, degraded areas, ecology, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, ecotone, endemic species, ethology, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, flora, forest systems, home gardens, indicators, invertebrates/insects/spiders, lichens, mammals, migrating populations/migration, monitoring/methodologies, natural medicinal products, natural resources, perturbations/resilience/vulnerability, phenology, phytosociology/succession, plants, pollination, population genetics/population dynamics, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, taxonomy, temperate forest, vegetation studies/plant cover, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, anthropological studies/anthropology, aquaculture/mariculture, bioprospecting, capacity building, cultural aspects, economic studies, economically important species, fishery/fisheries, forestry, indicators of sustainability, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, micro-credits, mining, monitoring methodologies, natural hazards, non-timber forest products/ntfp, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, people-nature relations/man/nature, poverty, recreation, resource use, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Carrying capacity/Sustainability, conflict, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, environmental change, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, infrastructure, institutional and legal aspects, integrated studies/interdisciplinaty, interdisciplinary studies, land tenure, land use/land cover, landscape inventorying/monitoring, management issues, mapping, modelling, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, policy issues, remote sensing, rural systems, sustainable development/sustainable use, transboundary/transfrontiers, urban systems/towns/cities.
  Contact address   Rosendo Antonio Caro Gómez
5 de Mayo Sur No. 38 3er. Piso Dpto. 4, Zitácuaro, michoacán
  Web site

Last updated: 08/03/2011

To topTo MAB home pageTo UNESCO