The Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve hosts a wide variety of ecosystems that make up one of the most diverse landscapes on the Pacific coast of the Americas. It is important for the conservation of the wide, dry, and deciduous tropical forest — considered among the world's most threatened ecosystems.
The Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, located within the Mexican state of Jalisco, hosts a wide variety of ecosystems that make up one of the most diverse landscapes on the Pacific coast of the Americas. It is important for the conservation of the wide, dry, and deciduous tropical forest — considered among the most threatened ecosystems in the world.
The Chamela-Cuixmala region is located on the coastal plain of the Sierra Madre del Sur, in the sub-provinces of the Sierras of Jalisco and Colima. It is a predominantly mountainous region where the relief of the coastal plain is dominated by hills, which are interrupted by plains or floodplains of rivers or streams.
The region is dominated by tropical deciduous forest and sub-deciduous tropical forest and wetland vegetation in floodplains where rivers and streams flow into the sea. It also contains coastal and marine ecosystems and islands.
The forest is characterized by its diversity of flora and fauna and a very high number of endemic species. These include jaguar, puma, ocelot, jaguarundi, coyote, coati, armadillo, skunk, white tailed deer, peccary, American crocodile, geckos, potoos, hawks, kites, storks, vultures, boas, vipers, coral snakes, toads, frogs, sea turtles, opossums, macaws, woodpeckers, etc. In addition, the Pacific Slope region of Mexico and the reserve itself supports a high diversity of neotropical migratory bird species during the winter.
The climate is tropical with strong seasonality between the rainy (July to October) and dry season (November-June). The climate of the region is hot and humid with average annual temperature of 25 °C (77 °F), the coldest month exceeds 18 °C (64 °F).
The biosphere reserve is located 170 km (105 mi) from the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco and 100 km (62 mi) from the city of Manzanillo, Colima. Rural populations closest to the reserve, having a population between 300 and 1,500 people are Pérula, San Mateo, Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata.
Within the limits of the core area, there are no established populations, only some research facilities and logistical support from the Biological Station and the Ecological Foundation of Cuixmala.
In the transition zone population is estimated at 5,800 people. This area contains both natural ecosystems and ecosystems transformed by human activities that are practiced in the region. In this area numerous agricultural activities are developed, mainly related to livestock and tourism.