PROYECTO SIERRA MAZATECA, INC

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Ecology

A report of various plants and flowers identified on the January 2016 expedition to the Sierra Mazateca by Thomas Hawkins. Report combined by Marion Akers
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Following is a collection of nature photos from the expedition in January 2017, in the Sierra Mazateca, from the upper regions of both San Jose Tenango and San Juan Coatzospam.  As plants and flowers are identified, they will be added to the collection.
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Report Written by: Thomas Hawkins, Horticulturalist and Botanist
Following Expedition held in January, 2016

Cerro Caballero is located in the East of the Sierra Mazateca. The vegetation is comprised of an extremely diverse mixed hardwood forest growing on a steep limestone mountain of karst topography and dolines.  The highest point of the Cerro Caballero is 2,150 m. The extreme ruggedness of the Cerro Caballero has allowed it to remain relatively intact due to the difficulty of access.

The forests of the Cerro Caballero are disturbed by human activity at the lower altitudes where coffee and milpa are grown. At the higher altitudes, above 1,600m the forests are less disturbed and comprised of mixed hardwood species, including Oreomunnea mexicana, a member of the Juglandaceae or Walnut family (1.)  Other tree species include Weinmannia pinnata, Pine trees, possibly of several different species. Another conifer in the higher parts of the mountain is Cupressus lusitanica var. benthamii (1.) Other hardwood trees are Ardisia, Psychotria, Parathesis and Sommera.

The understory of the mountain contains a very diverse mixture of various species of Agaves, Begonias, Orchids, ferns, tree ferns, bamboo, epiphytes and understory herbs. The edible Chamaedorea palm is common in the forest understory.

The tremendous ecological variety of this mountain forest makes it very important habitat with a rich and diverse flora which has not been fully studied to reveal its biodiversity as part of the Flora of Oaxaca.

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El Cerro Caballero esta ubicada en la Este de la Sierra Mazateca. La vegetacion es comprimido de una bosque muy diversa de bosque mixto cresciendo en una montana karstica con poco fuentes o corrientes de agua a cuasa del sustrato karstico. El punto mas alto del Cerro Caballero tiene 2,150 m de altura.  La extrema inclinación del Cerro Caballero le ha permitido permanecer el bosque relativamente intacta debido a la dificultad de acceso.

La vegetation  en las zonas baja de la montana se encuentra bastante pertubada. En las altitudes más altas, por encima de 1.600 m, los bosques están menos perturbados y están compuestos por especies mixtas de madera dura, incluida Oreomunnea mexicana, miembro de la familia Juglandaceae o Walnut. Otras especies de árboles incluyen Weinmannia pinnata, pinos de varias especies diferentes. Otra conífera en las partes altas de la montaña es Cupressus lusitanica var. Benthamii (1.) Otros árboles de madera dura son Ardisia, Psychotria, Parathesis y Sommera.

En el sotobosque, especialmente in los filos o claros se encuentran una mezcla muy diversa de varias especies de Agaves, Begonias, Orquídeas, helechos, helechos arborescentes, bambú, epífitas y plantas de sotobosque.  La palmera comestible de Chamaedorea es común en el sotobosque del bosque.

La tremenda variedad ecológica de este bosque de montaña hace que sea un hábitat muy importante con una flora rica y diversa que no ha sido completamente estudiada para revelar su biodiversidad como parte de la Flora de Oaxaca.

Estudio Floristico de los Bosques Mesofilos de la Sierra Mazateca de Oaxaca, Mexico. Dr Francisco Lorea Hernandez. Abril 2005, 32 paginas.


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Following is a slide show of selected nature photos from the expedition in January of 2015.  

Photos by:  Ron Adams, Marion & Tony Akers, Jorge Barrera, Donna Renee-Frazier, Rnad Heazlitt, and Rusty Riley
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The Sierra Mazateca, a karst, cloud forest, mountain range located in the northeastern part of the state of Oaxaca in the country of Mexico.  It is part of the larger mountain range, the Sierra Madre Oriental, and lies about 300 km southeast of Mexico City and 150 km north of Oaxaca.  Although the lower elevations are populated by the Mazatec people and are cultivated readily, the upper regions contain one of the few remaining sections of cloud ecosystems left in Mexico, and has been said to be one of the richest in all of North America.  East of the city of Huautla de Jímenez, a limestone plateau rises over 2000 meters above the gulf lowlands, and has steep gorges and many deep valleys.  It is identified as a karst region because much of the surface runoff and rainwater goes immediately underground.  This karst region extends eastward for about 25-30 kilometers ending in a massive escarpment called the Cerro Rabon and the man-made lake, “Presa Miguel Aleman.  This region covers approximately 28,400 acres of pristine cloud forest, temperate, and tropical rainforest.  The forest contains a number of endangered plants, as well as trees, including a rare species of cedar tree.  The ecosystem and the wildlife is threatened by population growth, pollution, agriculture pressures, deforestation, and other socioeconomic pressures.   By our continued documentation of the wildlife we see and promotion of this beautiful place and its amazing karst ecosystem,  we hope to preserve parts of this Mexican natural treasure for centuries to come. 










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Our reforestation project has begun!!  From a promotion held by Carlota Gardens, about $600 was given to Rio Santiago, to begin reforestation efforts.  We met a young man in Rio Santiago in January of 2013 who was part of a collective, calling themselves “Juvenil Collectivo Rio Santiago".  Their purpose is to help their community develop responsibly, by  protecting  their  people and their environment.  Being of like mind, we discussed our goals with the leader of the group, Miguel Morales.  He had noticed that the spring, which provides clean water for the people in Rio Santiago, was flowing less than it had in previous generations and attributed it to deforestation on the hillsides above the spring.  We know that deforestation, causes rapid downflow of rainfall, rather than slower seepage into the spring-fed aquifers, and can see the effects in other large springs in the region.  We also realize that total protection of the forests may not realistic, but promotion of reforestation could be a feasible option for communities throughout the Sierra.  We were back in December, 2013, with our contribution and our willingness to begin this aspect of our project.  We discussed our options – what kind of trees, where to plant, what are the landowner concerns – and decided to begin with cedar trees.  Although they are slow-growing, they are indigenous and protected by federal law.   Over 400 trees were acquired from a town close to us, and transported to Rio Santiago.  Landowners and local officials were consulted for their approval.  Through combined efforts from the collective and from the primary school, in February, 2014, volunteers and 6th graders were enlisted to help begin the planting.  Although this is a long-term project, and more trees will be planted in 2014, this beginning was awesome!  Not only did we get trees replanted, schoolchildren contributed their energy and were taught how important reforestation is for the future of the Sierra Mazateca and their families.  More trees are planned for planting in the coming months.  And Carlota Gardens is doing that promotion again at the Philadelphia Flower Show for 2014.  Thank you, Flower Show customers!!!  Check out the photos below to see some results......

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¡Nuestro proyecto de la reforestación ha comenzado!! De una promoción sostenida por Carlota Gardens, dieron aproximadamente 600$a Rio Santiago, para comenzar esfuerzos de la reforestación. Encontramos a un joven en Rio Santiago en el enero de 2013 que era la parte de un colectivo, llamándose "Juvenil Colectivo Rio Snatiago". Su objetivo es ayudar a su comunidad a desarrollarse con responsabilidad, protegiendo a su gente y su ambiente. Siendo de la mente parecida, hablamos de nuestros objetivos con el líder del grupo, Miguel Morales. Había notado que la primavera, que proporciona el agua limpia a la gente en Rio Santiago, fluía menos que tenía en generaciones anteriores y lo atribuyó a la deforestación en las laderas encima de la primavera. Sabemos que la deforestación, causa downflow rápido de la precipitación, más bien que filtración más lenta en los acuíferos alimentados por la primavera, y puede ver los efectos en otras primaveras grandes en la región. También comprendemos que la protección total de los bosques puede no realista, pero la promoción de la reforestación podría ser una opción factible para comunidades en todas partes de la Sierra. Estuvimos de vuelta en el diciembre de 2013, con nuestra contribución y nuestra buena voluntad de comenzar este aspecto de nuestro proyecto. Hablamos de nuestras opciones – que tipo de árboles, donde plantar, lo que es las preocupaciones(intereses) del terrateniente – y decidido para comenzar con cedros. Aunque sean el crecimiento lento, son indígenas y protegidos por la ley federal. Más de 400 árboles se adquirieron de una ciudad cerca de nosotros y se transportaron a Rio Santiago. Consultaron a terratenientes y los funcionarios locales para su aprobación. A través de esfuerzos combinados del colectivo y de la escuela primaria bilingue "Fransisco I Medro", en el febrero de 2014, los voluntarios y los estudiantes sextos se alistaron para ayudar a comenzar la plantación. ¡Aunque esto sea un proyecto a largo plazo, y más árboles se plantarán en 2014, este principio era imponente! No sólo plantamos de nuevo árboles, los alumnos contribuyeron su energía y se enseñaron cómo la reforestación importante es para el futuro de la Sierra Mazateca y sus familias. Más árboles se plantarán en los próximos meses.
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