The Pantanos de Centla is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in southern Mexico which includes seasonally flooded forests and wetlands in the summer. The soils of this ecoregion are some of the most productive in the country and are therefore highly desirable to local agriculture.
Pantanos de Centla Ecoregion
The Pantanos de Centla is a tropical moist forest ecoregion in southern Mexico which includes seasonally flooded forests and wetlands in the summer. The area is considered to have one of the most important aquatic vascular floras of Mesoamerica.
The ecoregion covers an area of 17,200 sq km (6,600 sq mi) in the states of Tabasco and Campeche and consists of a matrix of wetlands, riparian habitats, and moist forests. Species richness is high although endemism is relatively low.
The soils of this ecoregion are some of the most productive in the country, and are therefore highly desirable to local agriculture. Much of the habitat has been cultivated for agriculture and due to this, it is estimated that only eight percent of the original habitat remains. The Pantanos de Centla was declared a Biosphere reserve in 2006.
The Pantanos de Centla occupy the delta of the Usumacinta and Grijalva rivers, which empty into the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna de Términos through numerous distributaries.
The ecoregion includes year-round wetlands and freshwater swamp forests which are inundated during the summer rainy season.
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. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests ecoregion lies to the west and south. The Yucatan moist forests ecoregion lie to the east.
Much of the flora within the Pantanos de Centla is algae-based. Fauna include the Morelet crocodile (Crocodylus moreleti) and the alligator gar, known as pejelagarto, a fish that already existed during the age of dinosaurs.