Life is a magic phenomenon and although it appeared more than 4 billion years ago, we had to wait until the 1980s for a term to describe physical existence in its totality: “megadiversity”. In that same decade, the countries that concentrate the most important natural resources on Earth were listed. One of them is Mexico.
Megadiverse countries are a group of nations that accumulate in their territories the greatest number of plant and animal individuals on planet. These sites are considered extremely biodiverse because, although they only represent 10% of the earth’s surface, they are home to 70% of all beings recognized to date.
17 nations were chosen by the United Nations Environmental Conservation Monitoring Center. The primary intention of this institution was to drive people attention to natural spaces so they try to preserve them.
All the places in this ranking are located in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Each one has at least 5 thousand of endemic species and a great variety of ecosystems. The nations that make up this select biodiverse group are: from Oceania: Australia and Papua New Guinea; from Asia: China, Philippines, India, Malaysia and Indonesia; from Africa: Congo, South Africa and Madagascar; and from America: United States, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia. And of course Mexico.
Mexico and its megabiodiversity
Mexico is not only part of this exclusive list, but it is also the fifth most megadiverse place in the world. The richness of this country is so vast that it is estimated that 12% of the known species on Earth live there.
Located in the southern part of North America, Mexico is home to both island regions and states rich in endemic species. In the territory there are mountains, canyons, plains, rivers, just to mention a few landscapes. In fact, nine of the 11 habitats that exist in the world are in Mexico.
This gift has allowed a great number of life forms to coexist in Mexico, from microscopic species, sheltered at the bottom of the sea, to immense mammals such as humpback whales. Thousands of organisms have made their home in the ecosystems found here. A good part of the animal and plant species born here are endemic, that is to say that they can only be find in Mexico.
The flora of a country is constituted by the total number of plant species that grow in the territory. Almost all the types of plants on the planet are represented in Mexico. Moreover, it is estimated that at least 10% of all the known flora lives in this country.
According to CONABIO data, Mexico has at least 18 thousand species of vascular plants. Almost 40% of the world’s cacti are Mexican, as are 20% of the oaks and 70% of the magueys.
Regarding flowers, in 1991 the famous Mexican botanist Jerzy Rzdowski, estimated that in the national territory there are more than 20 thousand different types of flowers. This number is still growing while we discover new specimens.
The total number of known specimens in Mexico is approximately 64,878. Worldwide, Mexico ranks second in reptile species, with 804 categories. Third in mammals, with 553 types, and eighth in birds, with more than 1,000 different varieties.
In addition to all the species born here, this country is home to great migrations of birds and mammals. A phenomenon that every year transforms its ecosystems in a wonderful way. Two memorable examples of this: butterflies and whales.
Moreover, a large number of species are endemic. Some of the best known are: the vaquita, the spiny-tailed iguana, the green macaw, the Mexican gray wolf, the salamander and the jaguar. It is worth noting that a good percentage of those animals are under threat, on the infamous red list of extinctions.
In order to take care of the fabulous treasure Mexico inherited, it is important to be aware of its enormous natural capital. Knowledge of its heritage will guide decisions regarding what to do with the management, use, reproduction and conservation of species and ecosystems. Together let’s support the creation of sustainable projects that involve all of us, because life is everyone’s responsibility.
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