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La Michilia Biosphere Reserve, Mexico

Michilía is located 75 km to the south of the town Durango in the Sierra de Michis, a branch of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The Sierra de Michis consists of igneous rock of the tertiary period. In the reserve, the topography is marked by a high degree of relief. There are several ephemeral streams and lagoons, besides the two permanent streams, Laurel to the west and Temascal to the southeast. There are also marshy meadows in the core area. Pine and Holm oak forests cover the greater part of the reserve.

Declaration date: 1977Surface area: 342,388 haAdministrative division: Municipalities of Tlahualillo and Mapimí in the State of Durango, Municipality of Jiménez in the State of Chihuahua and Municipality of Sierra Mojada in the State of Coahuila



Surface: 35,932.54 ha

  • Core area(s): 9,422.5 ha
  • Buffer zone(s): 26,510.04 ha
  • Transition zone(s): 97,148.7 ha

Location: N/A

Administrative Authorities

Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP)

Rodolfo Pineda Perez
Calle Matamoros 710, Vicente Guerrero
34100 Durango

Tel.: +52 (675) 8650056


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Ecological Characteristics

The Biosphere Reserve is located in one of the branches of the Western Sierra Madre. Its physiographic limits are two mountain chains: the Sierra Michis and the Sierra Urica.

The area between these two Sierras has several plateaux and small hills, separated by valleys and canyons of varying depth. There are five types of vegetation in the Reserve: Conifer forest (Pinus, Quercus-Pinus, Pseudotsuga spp, Cupressus and Juniperus), Oak (Quercus) forest, grasslands, xerophyllus shrubland, and aquatic and subaquatic vegetation.

Its forests act as a catchment area for two basins that are important for the region’s agriculture. The Reserve hosts 770 species of vascular plants. The fauna in the reserve is predominantly of Nearctic origin with North American affinities. The Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis) used to live in the area but is now extinct. The Mexican Gray Wolf (Canis lupus baileyii) and the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) have been reintroduced in the Reserve.

Among the most important vertebrate species are the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), the Puma (Puma concolor), the Coyote (Canis latrans), the Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), the Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) and the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).



Socio-Economic Characteristics

90% of the Biosphere Reserve's buffer and transition zones are used for animal husbandry activities, while most of the communal farms also have some agriculture areas for subsistence. Tourism is not substantial, with just a few groups that either come for hunting or research.

There are several projects aimed at diversifying the economic activities in the Biosphere Reserve, like workshops on craft production, creation of forestry sustainable units, among others.





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Last updated: October 2018