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Importance of Forest Ecosystems

Importance of Forest Ecosystems; Species of Forests and Jungles.

Profepa’s objective is to program, order and carry out visits and inspection operations, to monitor compliance with the legal provisions applicable to the restoration, preservation and protection of forest resources.

Mexico has an area of ​​137.8 million hectares (Ha) covered by some type of forest vegetation 1 . Of these, 65.7 million Ha (47.7%) correspond to wooded area for forests, jungles, mangroves and other plant associations; 56.3 million hectares (40.8%) are covered with xeric scrub, that is, vegetation from arid and semi-arid zones; and other forest areas cover 15.8 million ha (11.5%) .

The importance of forests

The importance of forests lies in the components and processes that integrate ecosystems and that provide multiple benefits to the environment, fauna and society.

From the point of view of ecology, forests help regulate the climate and cushion the impact of natural phenomena.

• Maintain the supply of water in quality and quantity.

•Generate oxygen.

• They control erosion, as well as the generation, conservation and recovery of the soil.

• They help in the capture of carbon and the assimilation of various pollutants.

• They protect biodiversity, ecosystems and life forms.

• Promote and allow the pollination of plants and the biological control of pests.

•They are the space where the degradation and recycling of organic waste takes place.

•Allow the appreciation of the landscape and recreation.

•They are an important source of raw materials.

•They are the genetic reservoir of life and provide countless substances of great use to humanity to combat diseases.

In short, they bring enormous economic, social and environmental benefits.

Environmental services and utility

Forest ecosystems, among which are: forests and jungles, mangroves, xeric scrub and other forest associations, provide products and services that contribute directly to the well-being of the population and are vital for our economies and daily life.

Among other services, forests are a source of food, timber, fuel and medicinal resources, in addition, they serve as tourist sites, scenic recreation and are also important for the sociocultural activities of their inhabitants.

Forests and jungles provide fundamental environmental services such as: the maintenance of water sources, biological diversity, as well as climate regulation and carbon sequestration.

Relevant species of temperate forests (coniferous and broadleaved)


Pine (Pinus spp), White Cedar (Cupressus luistanica), Oyamel (Abies religiosa), Pinabete (Picea chihuahuana) and Sabino or Táscate (Juniperus deppeanna) , among others.

As for pines, some authors claim that there are about 50 species of pines , others instead raise the figure to more than 70, but there is something that is evident to all botanists: Mexico is the largest center of world diversity of the genus Pinus .

The pines of Mexico are distributed in five main regions, which differ only partially from the six areas defined by Eguiluz-Piedra (1985), based on the presence of particular groups of species.

I. Baja California and Baja California Sur

II. Sierra Madre Occidental: Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora and Zacatecas.

III. Sierra Madre Oriental: Coahuila, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas.

IV. Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Aguascalientes, Colima, Mexico City, State of Mexico, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Veracruz.

V. Sierra Madre del Sur: Massif of Oaxaca, Sierra de San Cristóbal, Sierra de Oaxaca and Yucatan Peninsula: Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Campeche and Quintana Roo

Both the hard pines of the Diploxylon subgroup , and the soft pines of the Haploxylon subgroup , have multiple uses.

The wood of soft pines is easy to work, so it is used for the manufacture of furniture, houses and boxes to pack agricultural products.

The wood of the hard pines, more resinous, extracts precisely the resin, which is processed to obtain pitch, turpentine and oils.

Among the most common pine species in Mexico are: Ocote Pine ( Pinus oocarpa), Straight Pine (Pinus pseudostrobus), Chamaite Pine (Pinus montezumae), Escobetón Pine (Pinus michoacana), Apache Pine (Pinus engelmannii) and Durango Pine. (Pinus durangesis).

One of the rarest species is the Coalcomán Pine ( Pinus rzedowskii) , which has intermediate characteristics between hard pines and soft pines, which could provide some interesting answers to studies on the evolution of the genus.

Pine species that could be at some risk: Potosí Dwarf Pinyon Pinus culminicola, Blue Pine (Pinus maximartinezii), Weeping Pinyon (Pinus pinceana), Baja California Pinyon (Pinus lagunae)2

2 Source: Los Pinos Mexicanos, World Biodiversity Record. Emma Romeo. file:///C:/vILCHIS/2020%20DGIVF/12.%20Comunicaci%C3%B3n%20social/01.%20Espesies%20de%20 Bosques/Untitled%20Document.html


Quercus spp, Alnus jorullensis, Populus tremuloides, Ficus spp., Liquidamabar macrophylla, and Arbutus xalapensis, among others.

Quercus spp or oaks is the genus of trees in which Mexico is number one in its diversity, the genus is presented in Mexico, with an approximate list of 161 species of the genus Quercus, particularly in the mountainous regions, where they are an important part of the forests. tempered.

The 161 species of the genus Quercus for Mexico are located in three sections:

76 in section Lobatae (red oaks)

81 in the Quercus section (white oaks)

4 species in the Protobalanus section (intermediate oaks).

It is estimated that 109 species are endemic to the country, of which 47 belong to the Quercus section, 61 to the Lobatae section and one to Protobalanus. Mexico shares 33 species of the genus with the United States, while it shares 20 with Central America. The states with the greatest diversity are Oaxaca, Nuevo León, Jalisco, Chihuahua and Veracruz.

The species with the widest distribution in our country are Encino Ancho

(Quercus candicans), Capulincillo Oak (Quercus castanea), White Oak (Quercus crassifolia), White Oak (Quercus laeta), Dwarf Oak (Quercus microphylla) and Oak Break Ax (Quercus rugosa) . Quercus species develop between 0 and 3,500 m altitude, but are more frequent between 1,000 and 3,000 m.

The genus Quercus is characteristic of the temperate mountainous regions of the northern hemisphere where it is of great ecological importance in the forests of which it forms a part.

In addition, it is one of the genres most used by man as a source of charcoal and wood of high beauty, resistance and durability.

The rugged topography of Mexico, as well as the presence of complicated mountain systems that run through the country, have contributed to making the territory one of the areas with the greatest diversity in the world .

Protection and conservation

Protection is the set of all those silvicultural and legal measures aimed at the prevention and/or correction of damage caused by both biotic and abiotic origins, such as forest fires, pests and diseases, illegal clearing, land use change, irrational exploitations, on grazing, social works and natural agents.

Conservation is the maintenance of the conditions that favor the persistence and evolution of a forest ecosystem without its degradation or loss of its functions. It occurs as a result of its protection, promotion and use.


The General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection , whose main purpose is the preservation and restoration of the ecological balance, as well as the protection of the environment.

The General Law of Sustainable Forestry Development, which establishes the objective of regulating and promoting the integral and sustainable management of forest territories, the conservation, protection, restoration, production, management, cultivation, management and use of the country’s forest ecosystems and its resources.

PROFEPA powers for your protection

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) aims to schedule, order and carry out visits and inspection operations, to monitor and evaluate compliance with the legal provisions applicable to the restoration of natural resources, the preservation and protection of forest resources.

For its part, the Deputy Attorney General’s Office for Natural Resources supervises and coordinates the execution of the policy of inspection and monitoring of compliance with environmental regulations regarding forest resources.

While the General Directorate of Forest Inspection and Surveillance will inspect, monitor, and

will verify compliance with regulations on forestry, in protected natural areas and on biosafety of genetically modified organisms.


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