Montes Azules

Montes Azules is located in the Selva Lacadona region in the State of Chiapas in southeast Mexico, between the Lacantum and Locania Rivers. It comprises 331,200 hectares inside the area of forestry protection (1978) of the Lacandona Forest. It is one of the largest areas of humid tropical forest in Mexico and Central America with areas of pine forest in higher altitudes and mountain rainforest.

The reserve and surrounding forest contain some 500 species of trees. More recently, the forest has been exploited for chicle and mahogany, but has not been seriously altered , even though wood clearing is recognized as a serious threat. It comprises a mixture of federal, communal system and private lands .

Declaration date: 1978
Surface area: 331,200 ha
Administrative division: Municipalities of Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Maravilla Tenejapa, State of Chiapas.

Human Activities

Agriculture, animal husbandry, artisanal fishing, provision of tourist services, management of wildlife units, tapping of both timber and non-timber forest resources.

Ecological Characteristics

The Biosphere Reserve is the northernmost distribution boundary for a great number of biota proceeding from the Pleistocene refuges of Polochic in Guatemala and Chiriqui in Panama. It contains relevant species such as Lacandonia schismatica and is the last refuge for vulnerable species such as the Scarlet Macao (Ara macao).

The area contains the greatest amount of biodiversity in Neotropical Mexico: it covers 16% of the national territory and includes 20% of the country’s plant diversity, with approximately 4,300 species; 25% of the bird species, with 345 species and 27% of the mammals, with 114 species. In terms of invertebrates, for butterflies alone its 800 daytime species represent 44% of the total for Mexico. A new family of fish have been recorded in the area: the Lacantunidae.

It is the habitat of a species endemic to Mesoamerica, Baird´s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), of rare species such as the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpija) and of such emblematic species such as the Jaguar (Phantera onca), Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the Mexican Black Howler Monkey (Alouata pigra), Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii), Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) and Mahogany (Swetenia macrophylla).

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                                                                                             Last update: July 2012

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