Sierra de Manantlán

The reserve is located in the transition of the Nearctic and Neotropical realms and encompasses parts of the Sierra Madre del Sur, with a wide range of altitudes, climates and soils. The effects of tectonic and volcanic activities and erosion are notable within the reserve.

Different types of forests are present in the reserve including mesophytic, cloud, and dry deciduous and semi-deciduous tropical forests. Anthropologists know the region as ‘Zona de Occidente’, an area notably different to the rest of Mesoamerica. Some ceramic remnants, figurines and graves have been found, but there is little other material evidence. More than 40,000 people (2002) live in the Sierra de Manantlán, engaged mainly in agriculture (corn, beans, tomatoes, sugarcane, watermelon, mangoes), livestock grazing, timber production, and extraction of wood for fuel and mining of coal or minerals. Their living conditions are poor and marginal.

Declaration date: 1988
Surface area: 139,577 ha
Administrative division: Municipalities of Autlán, Cuautitlán, Casimiro Castillo, Tolimán and Tuxcacuesco in the State of Jalisco and Minatitlán and Comala in the State of Colima

Human Activities

Agriculture, forestry and animal husbandry.

Ecological Characteristics

The Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve is located to the extreme north of the inter-tropical zone. The climate in the region is influenced by various factors in addition to its latitudinal location, such as its proximity to the coast, the effect of its landform – orographic shade – and the breadth of the altitudinal range, which partly goes to explain the high regional biodiversity and the presence of numerous plant formations ranging from tropical forests to those of temperate-cold climates.

The Sierra de Manantlán’s varied and complex plant cover harbours a great wealth of flora. There are over 2900 species of vascular plants belonging to 981 genuses. Wildlife is one of the important components of the high biodiversity in this Reserve. Among the main values of the Sierra de Manantlán, in addition to its great wealth of species and its unique biogeographical characteristics, particular mention should be made of the presence of endangered or useful endemic species. So far 110 species of mammals have been reported, among which the Mexican Vole Microtus mexicanus neveriae and the Pocket Gopher Cratogeomys gymnurus russelli, in addition to other mammals such as the Oncilla, the Jaguarandi, the Ocelot, the Puma, the Bobcat, the Jaguar and four species of nectarivorous bats.

Three hundred and thirty-six species of birds have been reported, among them 36 which are endemic to Mexico, such as the charismatic species: the Crested Guan Penelope purpurascens, the Military Macaw Ara militaris, the Red-lored Amazon Amazona autumnalis and the Mexican national symbol, the Golden Eagle. In terms of herpetofauna, 85 species have been recorded; of these it is known that 13 are endemic to the western and central region of Mexico: the Rattlesnake, the Black Iguana, the Frog Shyrrhopus modestus, the Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum and the Autlan Rattlesnake Crotalus lannomi, an endemic species only reported for the area of Puerto de Los Mazos. Of the 16 species of fish identified, 13 are native and four of these are endemic to the region.


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                                                                                             Last update: July 2012

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