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      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

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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