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Main ecosystems of Mexico and their characteristics

Ecosystems are home to numerous living beings, where they coexist and interact with each other and with non-living factors, which are those that form the environment, climate, temperatures, chemical substances or the geological characteristics of the territory. As for Mexico, it is among the 17 countries with the greatest biodiversity . This is due to its different climates, reliefs and biogeographic zones, which define its multiple ecosystems.

Because it is such a peculiar place in terms of nature, in this AgroCorrn article we talk about the main ecosystems of Mexico and their characteristics .

You may also be interested in: Main aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of Spain
  1. List of the main ecosystems of Mexico
  2. Terrestrial ecosystems of Mexico
  3. Aquatic ecosystems of Mexico

List of the main ecosystems of Mexico

To begin with, we present as an outline the list of the main Mexican terrestrial and marine ecosystems :

Terrestrial ecosystems

Marine ecosystems

  • Coastal lagoons
  • Mangroves
  • Coral reefs
  • Giant kelp forests

In the following lines we describe one by one the main ecosystems of Mexico and their characteristics .

Terrestrial ecosystems of Mexico

Among the main Mexican terrestrial ecosystems we can find the following:

Temperate forests

Among the different terrestrial ecosystems in this part of the world we can find temperate forests occupying approximately 15% of the country’s extension. In these forests we can find up to half of the world’s known pine species (about 50 species) and at least 200 species of oak. It is estimated that about 7 thousand plants inhabit it. However, more than 20% of this type of forest has been lost.

Cloudy forests

Although they occupy only 1% of the territory of Mexico, cloud forests are of great importance in capturing water in the arid areas where they are located, being the habitat of up to 10% of plants in Mexico (some of them endemic ) and by its contribution of oxygen. Currently, a big problem is that many of these forests are being lost.


It represents the most important ecosystem in Mexico in extension. It extends from the North to states such as Puebla and Oaxaca, located in the center and south of the country. In this ecosystem you can find different species of cacti, some of them endemic and very important for the country’s food and culture. Mexico is the country that is home to the most species of cactus in the world.


The grasslands are also called steppes and they extend through the northwestern part of the country, covering up to 6% of the territory of Mexico. A good number of species, shrubs and small trees develop in these grasslands. However, the easy access of humans to these species makes them very vulnerable to human activities, such as grazing and ranching.

Humid jungles

The humid forests are also known as tropical forests or tropical forests and are located in the southwest of the country, extending up to 5% of the territory of Mexico. This ecosystem has lush vegetation and is home to most of the mammals in Mexico. This ecosystem has disappeared very quickly and up to 70% are deteriorated. In this other AgroCorrn article you can see Why is the conservation of tropical forests or rainforests important?

Dry forests

Dry forests are found in the Pacific plain, north of the Yucatan peninsula and in the Balsas basin. In this ecosystem live up to 6% of the plants of the entire country, of which up to 40% are endemic to Mexico. In addition, they are ecosystems resistant to droughts and with abundant copal and olive trees. Its appearance is very variable, since with the rains its vegetation is transformed.

Aquatic ecosystems of Mexico

Among the main Mexican aquatic ecosystems , we find:

Coastal lagoons

We found coastal lagoons along the entire coast of Mexico. It is estimated that there are up to 125 coastal lagoons throughout the country. The lagoons constitute closed bodies of marine water that reach up to 50 meters deep. These ecosystems contain mangrove forests, seagrasses, and kelp beds. In addition, coastal lagoons represent important areas to buffer some natural phenomena.


Mangroves are one of the most important marine ecosystems in Mexico, with the country ranking fourth in the world in number of mangroves. Although they occupy 4% of the territory, they are very important in the natural balance of the coasts, coastal protection and reproduction. In addition, mangroves are the only aquatic forests that develop on soils and resist high concentrations of sea salt. However, this ecosystem is highly threatened by aquaculture farms and tourism development, as they are highly attractive areas.

Learn more about this type of ecosystem with this other AgroCorrnr article about What is a mangrove and its characteristics .

Coral reefs

They are underwater ecosystems close to the coast and shallow. They are very beautiful, colorful ecosystems and the habitat of many species that seek protection and food. Only in Mexico are up to 10% of the world’s coral species. They are mainly concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea (forming the Mesoamerican Reef: the second largest barrier reef in the world).

They are threatened by pollution, the grounding of ships, uncontrolled tourism, the extraction of corals or the construction of docks.

Giant kelp forests

It extends through Baja California, the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. They are the habitat of a large number of species and algae that reach up to 30 meters in height. They are also home to sea lions, elephant seals, crabs, fish or snails. In addition, they are a protective barrier for coastal areas, they are water purifiers and maintain the natural balance of the area.

If you want to read more articles similar to Main ecosystems of Mexico and their characteristics , we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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