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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   El Vizcaino is located in the central part of the Baja California peninsula in the Sebastian Volcano region, between the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Vizcaino includes a great abundance and variety of species of wild fauna and flora, including numerous endemics to the Mesoamerican region and species which are in danger of extinction elsewhere. Protection of the site is justified by the exceptional value of the desert, mountain and coastal/marine ecosystems, which link the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of California. The reserve is also of importance for its fossil beds and numerous marine birds, including some under threat of extinction. Grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) frequents the bay. There are more than 400 prehistoric sites of importance on the peninsula, as well as petroglyphs, wall paintings and ancient ruined structures. The region of the desert of Vizcaino is one of the most isolated zones in Baja California, although most of the land in the reserve is under some form of human use. However, 35,000 people (2000) live in the reserve, of which 52% in rural communities (including seasonal fishing camps). Principal economic activities include intensive agriculture, fishing, extensive livestock grazing, mining and tourism. The reserve possesses what are reputed to be some of the largest man-made saltpans in the world in the neighbourhood of Guerrero Negro. 30,000 tourists visited Laguna San Ignacio in 1989 to view grey whale. The main goal is to conserve the integrity, and the natural and cultural values of the World Heritage sites located inside the reserve.
  Major ecosystem type   Desert and semi-desert; coastal lagoons; coastal / marine ecosystems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Scrubland including succulent species; desert scrub; low shrubs of arid land; halophylous vegetation; coastal dunes; marine and coastal ecosystems; mangrove; riparian vegetation; agriculture
  Location   26°22' to 28°00'N; 112°14' to 115°15'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,546,790
  Core area(s)   363,439
  Buffer zone(s)   2,183,351
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   -100 to +1,920
  Year designated   1993
  Administrative authorities   Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP); Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca (SEMARNAP) Camino al Ajusco 200, 3er piso, Jardines en la Montaña, Tlalpan, C.P. 14210, México, D.F. Tel: (615) 157 01 77; (615) 157 01 77 Fax: (615) 157 17 77 E-mail:;

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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