20 julio, 2024

Forests in Mexico: types, characteristics, flora, fauna

The forests of Mexico They cover a series of arboreal plant formations of temperate climate, both coniferous and angiosperm and even mixed. They differ from jungles due to their climatic conditions and their lesser structural complexity.

Mexico as a megadiverse country located in the transition area between the temperate and tropical zone of the northern hemisphere of America, presents diversity of forests. Among them are coniferous forests, which in turn differ from each other by the predominant species.

Others are broadleaf forests (broad-leaved angiosperms), and mixed forests where both conifers and angiosperms coexist. In addition, due to its location between the temperate and tropical zones, there are mixed forests with conifers, temperate angiosperms, and tropical angiosperms.

The variety of species in the forests of Mexico is also due to its great diversity in characteristic genera of these plant formations in the world. For example, Mexico is the country with the greatest diversity of species of the genus Pinus (conifer), and also the largest number of species of quercus (angiosperms).

Coniferous forests

These forests are defined by the dominance of coniferous species, a group of resinous arboreal gymnosperms. Of these there are various types, depending on the dominant species, given the great diversity of conifers in Mexico.

ayarin forests

This is the name given to forests where species of the genera dominate. pseudotsuga and Spruce, which in Mexico are called ayarin or pinabete. These species are located on mountain slopes in protected valleys and with sufficient water supply.

The climate in these areas is temperate with annual rainfall of 600 to 1,600 mm and temperatures between 5 and 22 ºC. They are distributed in scattered areas to the north of Mexico in the Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental as well as in the Neovolcanic Axis and Oaxaca.

cedar forests

In Mexico they call cedar or white cedar the coniferous species of the genus Cupressus. They are between them Cupressus arizonica, Cupressus guadalupensis and Cupressus lusitanicaamong other.

These trees develop in temperate and cold climates with an average annual temperature of 10 to 20 ºC and rainfall of 800 to 2,500 mm.

There are patches of these forests in various mountains of the country between 100 and 3,200 meters above sea level. For example, in the Sierra Madre Occidental, Neovolcanic Axis, Sierra Madre del Sur and on Guadalupe Island in Baja California.

oyamel forests

In Mexico oyamel is the common name for Abies religious and species of pseudotsuga, trees that exceed 30 m in height. From the domain of these species in some patches of vegetation in almost all the mountains of the country, comes the name of fir forests.

These trees grow in temperate and cold climates between 2,000 and 3,000 meters above sea level, where temperatures range from 6 to 18 ºC and rainfall from 600 to 3,000 mm. In addition to Abies religiousthe fir tree is found (Abies duranguensis), the ocote (Pinus spp.), the aile (alnus firmifolia) and oaks and oaks (quercus spp.).

pine forests

Species of Pinus and they are found in all the Mexican mountain ranges from 150 to 4,200 meters above sea level, at the limit of trees. They have a wide climatic range, since they develop in both temperate and warm climates.

Temperatures vary from 6 to 28 ºC, with annual rainfall of 350 to 1,200 mm. They reach a height of the canopy of up to 30 m, being found in the forests of this country about 44 species of the genus Pinus.

Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii), Chinese pine (Pinus teocote) and the escobeton pine (Pinus mochoacana). Like the white ocote (Pinus montezumae), the brown ocote (Pinus hartwegii) and the ayacahuite pine (Pinus ayacahuite)

tascate forests

They receive their name from the predominance of species with scale-shaped leaves of the genus Juniperus, which in Mexico are called táscate or junipers. These forests are located throughout the country from the north in Baja California to Chiapas, being especially abundant in the Neovolcanic Axis.

They grow in cold high mountain climates to temperate, sub-humid or dry, with temperatures between 12 and 22 ºC and rainfall between 200 and 1,200 mm. These are species that reach between 8 and 15 meters in height, such as Juniperus monosperma and Juniperus flaccida and some species of Pinus and of quercus (oaks).

oak forest

They are forests composed of angiosperm or broad-leaved (broad-leaved) species, especially of the genus quercus, called oaks and oaks. In Mexico there are more than 200 species of quercus and these forests are a transition between coniferous and tropical forests.

They can be low, almost shrubby forests from 4 to 8 m tall to dense forests with 30 m tall, deciduous trees. They thrive in a wide variety of climates, from temperate to hot, humid or dry.

Temperatures range from 10 to 26 ºC on average and rainfall from 350 to 2,000 mm per year. They are located in all the mountain ranges of Mexico from the north to the south, with the exception of the Yucatan peninsula.

Among the most common species are the laurelillo oak (quercus laurina), the quebracho oak (rough quercus), the oak spoon (Quercus urbanii) and charrasquillo (Quercus microphylla). While in tropical areas the species dominates Quercus oleoides.

mixed forests

In Mexico there are mixed forests that combine coniferous species with angiosperms from the temperate zone and others include tropical species. The latter are the so-called mountain cloud forests.

Pine-oak forests and oak-pine forests

The most common mixed forests are those that include a diversity of pine species in their flora (Pinus) and oaks (quercus). In these the dominance may correspond to the pines, being called pine-oak forests, while if the oaks dominate the denomination is reversed.

The dominance of the pines occurs in the higher heights, while towards the bottom of the range the oaks dominate. Both types occur in temperate to cold climates with temperatures between 10 and 28 ºC, and annual rainfall of 600 to 2,500 mm.

They occur between 200 and 3,800 meters above sea level in all the mountain ranges of the country. Under these conditions, forests develop whose trees reach from 8 to 35 m in height, with a great diversity of species of quercus and Pinus.

El Nixticuil dry forest

It is a small mixed dry forest, which includes temperate climate angiosperm species such as holm oaks and tropical species such as copals (bursera spp.). It is located in Guadalajara on the urban periphery, having shrunk a lot over time.

Mesophyll forest of Montain

It is a unique type of forest in the world, as it combines coniferous and angiosperm species from temperate climates with other tropical ones.

This vegetal formation is a mix between a temperate forest and a tropical jungle and is scattered in mountainous areas of Mexico at altitudes of 800 to 2,700 meters above sea level. Average temperatures range from 12 to 23 ºC and rainfall is above 1,000 mm, with humid soils and abundant organic matter.

They are dense forests with two or three strata, with a highly developed understory and varied epiphytism and climbing. The canopy reaches 10 to 25 m in height, with some species exceeding this limit as emergent trees.

They are located to the east of the Sierra Madre Oriental, in the Massif Central in Chiapas, on the Pacific slope. There are conifers such as the ocote (Pinus spp.) and various species of podocarpusalong with various species of oak and oak (quercus spp.).

Other species are the sweetgum (sweetgumbar styraciflua), lime (Ternstroemia pringlei), soap (Clethra spp.), trotters tree (Chirantodendron pentadactylon) and maple or maple (Acer skutchii).

In the undergrowth, tropical shrubs of the Acanthaceae, Rubiaceae and Myrsinaceae predominate, as well as tree ferns (Cyathea Costa Ricansis). Likewise, epiphytes and climbers are tropical, such as orchids, bromeliads, araceae and piperaceae.

Fauna of the forests of Mexico

Given the mobility of the fauna, there is no specificity of species typical of each type of forest. In general, as they are mostly mountain forests in temperate or cold climates, they are home to the different species typical of these regions.

However, in some cases there are species that are restricted to certain forests, such as the monarch butterfly (danaus plexippus) in the fir forests. Among the species common to most of the forests of Mexico are the wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Others are the black bear (ursus americanus) and the arboreal anteater (tamandua Mexican). Among the birds are the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the quetzal (Pharomacrus mocinno mocinno) and the California condor (Gymnogyps californicus).

Woodpeckers, such as the greater woodpecker (picoides villosus) and the acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus).

There are also snakes, such as several species of the genus crotalus (rattlesnakes). Among them the transvolcanic rattlesnake (Crotalus triseriatus) and the black-tailed rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus).


National Commission for the knowledge and use of biodiversity. biodiversity.gob.mx
forests. CONABIO. Explore the nature of Mexico.
Izco, J., Barreno, E., Brugués, M., Costa, M., Devesa, JA, Frenández, F., Gallardo, T., Llimona, X., Prada, C., Talavera, S., and Valdéz , B. (2004). Botany.
World Wild Life. Taken from worldwildlife.org

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