The megadiversity of Mexico

Mexico is part of 17 megadiverse countries that have been identified by Conservation International in 1998. This means that Mexico is among a group of nations that harbour the majority of Earth´s species and a high number of endemic species and therefore exhibits great biodiversity. Following the criteria of Conservation International a country must have at least 5.000 species of endemic plants and must border marine ecosystems to be considered as megadiverse. Although the Mexican territory represents only 1% of the earth’s surface, it hosts more than 10% of the world’s biological diversity (CONABIO, 2014). The states with the greatest biological diversity are found in the south, with Oaxaca being the biodiverse-richest State, followed by Chiapas, Veracruz, Guerrero and Michoacán (INECC, 2007).

The National Geographic and Statistics Institute (INEGI) calculated that Mexico lost 35% of its forest cover in the past 20 years (INEGI, 2014). Furthermore, 2,606 species are in danger of extinction, threatened or subject to special protection (Norma Oficial Mexicana 059, SEMARNAT, 2013).