|The Biosphere Areas
|The original San Martin reserve, established in 1979, protected whatever forest remained above 1000 m. It was later
expanded to app. 20,000 hectares and in 1998 was merged into the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere.
Only 9,806 hectares (less than 40 square miles) of this area are considered the nucleus and are supposedly fully
The nucleus covers most of the high ground of Volcano San Martin Tuxtla, plus a panhandle reaching through the
Biological Station to the edge of the Gulf of Mexico near Playa Escondida.
|Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve
|The San Martin Tuxtla Nucleus
|This nucleus is also the remnant of the ecological protection fervor of 1979. Of an original 83,000
hectares, the nucleus shrank to 18,032 hectares (less than 70 square miles).
|The Santa Marta Nucleus
|The San Martin Pajapan Nucleus
|Formation of the Pajapan nucleus was an after thought to the earlier Los Tuxtlas protection schemes.
In 1998 the San Martin Pajapan area became part of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere and awarded its primarily
Popoluca and Nahua population, (possibly remnants of the Olmecs) an 1,883 hectares nucleus, (about
7.3 square miles), which is just about the high altitudes that cows don´t seem to be able to get to.
|Most of the Biosphere is actually a so called Amortiguamiento which translates to buffer zone.
When configuring the Biosphere, the federal government included another 125,000 hectares (483 square miles)
without asking the locals and declared them a protected zone.
Who are they kidding? In other parts of the world this is called expropriation without compensation.
As of 2009, deforestation and defaunization, although diminished, has not been stopped.
|Basically the Biosphere is divided into two zones. The protected zone includes the 3 nuclei of Volcano San
Martín Tuxtla, the Sierra Santa Marta and Cerro San Martín Pajapan. The other, largest zone, is an
amortiguamiento (buffer area) surrounding the nuclei.
At the time of decreeing the Biosphere, the local population provided considerable resistance to the idea,
mainly, because as is common in Mexican politics, the population was not consulted.
First there was the 1938 decree to preserve the watershed of Laguna Catemaco,
and they proceeded to destroy 50% of the environment.
Then came the decrees to protect San Martin and Santa Marta
and they proceeded to destroy another 25% of the environment
Then came a new decree to combine parts of the previous 3 and made it one big Biosphere
and then they proceeded to destroy another 10% of the environment.
|For more information about the volcanic nuclei, see
Los Tuxtlas Geography - Volcanoes