Jalisco and Its Ramsar Sites: A Refuge of Biodiversity

Jorge Chávez
Apr. 23, 2024

Since 2009, the United Nations General Assembly has designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day. The goal is to raise awareness and promote responsibility for the ecological crises (climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution).

Here in Jalisco, particularly in the Costalegre region (located a couple of hours by car from the southern exit of Puerto Vallarta), there has been an emphasis on environmental conservation with the goal of protecting ecosystems and natural resources, as well as the region’s flora and fauna.

Throughout the more than 300 kilometers of coastline, there are numerous wetlands and protected natural areas, wildlife sanctuaries and various programs where organizations, government, communities, and the private sector have worked to strengthen conservation.

Xola-Paramán Estuary.

Ramsar Sites of Jalisco

Mexico has 138 Ramsar Sites (key locations for the protection of wetlands of international importance). Jalisco is the state with the most Ramsar Sites, with a total of thirteen. Eight of them are located in Costalegre:

  • Lagoons of Barra de Navidad and Chalacatepec
  • Estuaries of La Manzanilla, Xola-Paramán, Majahuas, and El Chorro
  • Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve
  • Agua Dulce – El Ermitaño Estuarine Lagoon System

These sites protect various species of mangroves and tropical forests, in addition to being home to hundreds of migratory and aquatic bird species, fish, crustaceans, amphibians, reptiles, and insects, among others.

La Manzanilla Estuary.

One of the most outstanding Ramsar Sites in Costalegre is La Manzanilla Estuary. Covering 190 hectares, it is home to three species of mangrove, populations of migratory and endemic birds, as well as a large community of river crocodiles. José Eleazar Martínez Rodríguez, manager of the site, and his team have carried out conservation actions that have earned this estuary recognition at national and international congresses, workshops, and conventions as one of the symbols of animal conservation on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

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