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El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

Located between the Neotropical biogeographical region, the biosphere reserve is situated in the ‘Sierra de Cucharas’, a mountainous chain derived from the large Sierra Madre Chain. It is one of the most ecologically rich and diverse places of Mexico. It comprises 14 vegetation types, dominated by the tropical sclerophyllous forest. The conservation of the ecosystems of El Cielo is essential: they host a number of threatened plants and animal species as the oso negro (Ursus americanus), jaguaroundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), tigrillo (Leopardus wiedii), jaguar (Pantera onca), ocelote (Leopardus pardalis), and cabeza de viejo (Eira barbara).



Surface : 144,530 ha

  • Core area(s): N/A
  • Buffer zone(s): N/A
  • Transition zone(s): N/A

Location: N/A

Administrative Authorities

Municipalities of Gómez Farías, Llera, Ocampo and Jaumave, State of Tamaulipas

Gastón Alejandro González Reina

Departamento de Conservación y Manejo de ANP, Dirección de Recursos Naturales del Gobierno del Estado de Tamaulipas

Torre de Gobierno, piso 9, Blvd. José López Portillo, Zona Centro,
Ciudad Victoria,
C.P. 87000, Tamaulipas, México

Tel.: 52(834) 318 94 72


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Ecological Characteristics

The "El Cielo" Biosphere Reserve includes various transition ecosystems with characteristic temperate zone elements. The main aim is to protect the vegetation of the montane cloud forest because of its wealth of species and scant extension in the country (1%). Other types of vegetation are the sub-deciduous tropical forest, the pine-oak forests and the xerophyte shrubland containing threatened or endangered endemic species.

The mammals in the Biosphere Reserve include Eira barbara, Panthera onca, Leopardus pardalis, Leopardus wiedii, Herpailurus yagouaroundi, Ursus americanus, Bassariscus astutus, Galucomis volans, and Odocoileus hemionus; among the bird species, mention may be made of Accipiter striatus, Ara militaris, Asio clamator, Atthis heloisa, Bubo virginianus, Crax rubra, Falco peregrinus, Otus asio, Oxyura dominica e Icterus graduacauda; reptiles include Phrynosoma cornutum, Gopherus berlandieri and species of the Crotalus genus. The Biosphere Reserve contains the following plant species: Ariocarpus agavoides, Astrophytum myriostigma, Ceratozamia kuesteriana, Zamia fishcheri, Magnolia schiedeana, Encyclia cochleata, Laelia anceps, Laelia speciosa, Lycaste deppei, Ferocactus hamatacactus.


Socio-Economic Characteristics

Agriculture, animal husbandry, floriculture and silviculture. The local population of 6,208 inhabitants (1999), dispersed in 47 communities, are mainly engaged in seasonal agriculture as maize, beans, pumpkin and fruits crops, hunting and forestry exploitation.



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Last updated: October 2018