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Central America: Southern Mexico, Guatemala, into El Salvador

This ecoregion spans the Pacific slopes along the base of the Sierra Madre of Chiapas mountains, which extend through Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and is home to a very rich assemblage of species. The entire region is considered a nationally Important Bird Area, with over three hundred species of avifauna found here. The region is also considered a center of endemism for salamanders, as well as a center of endemism for butterflies in Mexico. Little of the original habitat remains, however The Nature Conservancy has placed the Biosphere Reserve "El Triunfo" within their National Parks in Peril program.

  • Scientific Code
  • Ecoregion Category
  • Size
    3,700 square miles
  • Status
  • Habitats


Location and General Description

Biodiversity Features

Current Status

Types and Severity of Threats

Justification of Ecoregion Delineation
The delineation’s for this ecoregion originated from a number of vegetation coverage maps for Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and were modified by expert review. These moist forests flank the western Sierra Madre de Chiapas, forming the transition from high elevation pine-oak forests to low elevation dry forests. In Mexico, the linework follows the INEGI (date) classification of "selva alta perennifolia", mesophile montane forests, and all human landscapes which fall into this broader classification. Linework was revised at workshops (dates) and by Rzedowski (pers. comm.). Within Guatemala, the linework follows Junio’s (1982) classification of dense and open forests. Maps from Instituto Geográfico Nacional (1972) were also reviewed and incorporated were data gaps were present. Within El Salvador, a national map produced by Instituto Geográfico Nacional (1987) was used to encompass historical forest coverage’s. All border areas were merges by experts at ecoregion workshops (CONABIO 1996 and 1997).

CONABIO Workshop, 17-16 September, 1996. Informe de Resultados del Taller de Ecoregionalización para la Conservación de México.

CONABIO Workshop, Mexico, D.F., November 1997. Ecological and Biogeographical Regionalization of Mexico.

INEGI Map. 1996. Comision Nacional Para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO) habitat and land use classification database derived from ground truthed remote sensing data Insitituto Nacional de Estastica, Geografia, e Informática (INEGI). Map at a scale of 1:1,000,000.

Rzedowski, J. 1978. Vegetación de Mexico. Editorial Limusa. Mexico, D.F., Mexico.

Rzedowski, J. pers.comm. at CONABIO Workshop, 17-16 September, 1996. Informe de Resultados del Taller de Ecoregionalización para la Conservación de México

Instituto Geográfico Nacional. 1972. Atlas nacional de Guatemala. Ministerio de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas. Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Ingeniero Pablo Arnoldo Guzmán". 1987. Mapa básico de la República de El Salvador. San Salvador, El Salvador.

Junio, C.A. 1982. Mapa de cobertura y uso actual de la tierra República de Guatemala. Instituto Geográfico Nacional Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Prepared by: Alejandra Valero, Jan Schipper, and Tom Allnutt
Reviewed by: In process


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