The Pantanos de Centla is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in southern Mexico. The area serves as a biological corridor and includes a variety of ecosystem types, from flooded moist forests to temperate and cloud forests.
Pantanos de Centla
The Pantanos de Centla is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in southern Mexico. The ecoregion includes year-round wetlands and freshwater swamp forests inundated during the summer rainy season.
The ecoregion covers an area of 17,200 sq km (6,600 sq mi) in the states of Tabasco and Campeche. It consists of a matrix of wetlands, riparian habitats, and moist forests. The Pantanos de Centla was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2006.
In the north, the Usumacinta mangroves lie in the brackish-water zone between the Pantanos de Centla and the open water of the Laguna de Términos and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Yucatan moist forests ecoregion lies to the east. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests ecoregion lies to the west and south.
The Pantanos de Centla ecoregion has one of the warmest climates in Mexico and is hot and humid year round with abundant rains in summer. The temperature here averages 26.1 °C (78.8 °F), and the annual rainfall is over 2,000 mm (78 in).
The soils of the ecoregion are some of the most productive in the country and are, therefore, highly desirable to local agriculture. Unfortunately, much of the habitat has been cultivated for agriculture, and only 8% of the original habitat is estimated to remain.
Flora and Fauna
The Pantanos de Centla ecoregion serves as a biological corridor between Veracruz and southern Tabasco and includes a variety of ecosystem types, from flooded moist forests to temperate and cloud forests.
The area is considered to have one of Mesoamerica's most important aquatic vascular floras. Much of the flora within the Pantanos de Centla is algae-based.
Species richness is high, although endemism is relatively low. Fauna includes the Morelet crocodile (Crocodylus moreleti) and the alligator gar, known as pejelagarto, a fish that already existed during the age of dinosaurs.
Map depicting the approximate area of the Pantanos de Centla ecoregion (in green)