Petén-Veracruz moist forests

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Petén-Veracruz moist forests
Forest in Tikal Guatemala.jpg
Forest surrounding ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
Biome Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest
Bird species 468[1]
Mammal species 191[1]
Area 149,100 km2
Countries Mexico, Belize and Guatemala
Conservation status critical/endangered
Habitat loss 23.595%[1]
Protected 24.25%[1]

The Petén-Veracruz moist forests ecoregion, of the Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest Biome, is found in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico.


The Petén-Veracruz moist forests cover an area of 149,100 square kilometers (57,600 sq mi), extending from central Veracruz state across portions of the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Campeche, as well as northern Guatemala and most of Belize. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests mostly occupy a coastal lowland with meandering rivers, and includes the Lacandon Forest of Chiapas and the Petén Basin of Guatemala.

Adjacent ecoregions

The ecoregion is bounded on the south by a series of mountain ranges and highlands, including the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca, Sierra Madre de Chiapas, Chiapas Plateau, and Guatemalan Highlands, where the lowland Petén-Veracruz forests yield to montane moist forests and pine-oak forests. In central Veracruz, the Veracruz dry forests separate the Petén-Veracruz moist forests from the Veracruz moist forests further north. The western portion of the ecoregion mostly extends to the Gulf of Mexico, although the montane forests of the Sierra de los Tuxtlas and the flooded forests and wetlands of the Pantanos de Centla constitute distinct ecoregions.

The eastern portion of the ecoregion is bounded on the north by the Yucatán moist forests, which extend east and west across the Yucatán Peninsula. The Petén-Veracruz moist forests extend east to the Caribbean Sea in Belize, surrounding enclaves of Belizean pine forests in the Maya Mountains and near the coast. The Belizean Coast mangroves run along the Caribbean coast.


The northern Petén-Veracruz moist forests were home to the Olmec culture, which built cities between 1200 and 400 BCE. The Classic Maya civilisation (250-900 CE) was centered in the eastern and southern portions of the ecoregion, from Tabasco and northern Chiapas across northern Guatemala to Belize.

Today, modern Mayan people inhabit the eastern portion of the ecoregion, while Mixe–Zoque and Nahuatl peoples inhabit the western portion.


The ecoregion contains a number of protected areas, including the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala, and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. It is ranked Critical/Endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; Spalding, M. D.; Boucher, T. M.; Robertson, J. C.; Heibel, T. J.; Ellison, K. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26256-0. 

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