Chetumal Lagunar Eco System
In addition to the scenic, recreational and tourist beauties that this Lagoon Zone has, these can also be considered of high geological and biological value. At present, the geohydrological pattern that determines the main geological fissure of the area is the determining element to explain the structure and function of the ecosystems present in the Lagoon System.
Basically we can find that the main fissure, Bacalar, receives important contributions of groundwater from the relatively high areas of the Northwest, along its eastern margin. The evidence provided by the contour lines determines that groundwater enters the Bacalar Lagoon through its eastern slope.
This strip represents a narrow band with a relatively steep slope that reaches the central area of Laguna de Bacalar, represented by a channel whose average depth is 15 meters. This channel explains, to a great extent, the function of an important reservoir of fresh water in the Bacalar Lagoon.
Once the continuous supply of water exceeds the level of the central channel, an important drainage process begins, through various points of the Bacalar Lagoon, towards the neighboring lagoons. The complex river system of Bacalar is fed at least mainly by the Río Hondo, the natural boundary between Mexico and Belize. This large aquifer complex is formed by the lagoons of:
- La Virtud
- San Felipe
- Ocom y Chakmochuk
- Boca Paila
- Chile Verde
Similarly, some cenotes and aguadas, along with the Azul, Escondido and Ucum river beds, are interconnected to the river system. In this way, we can specify that the area has a continuous laminar flow of water with a general Northwest-Southeast pattern. If we add to this that the water table in the area is approximately 5 meters. On average, we have then, that in addition to the significant importance of groundwater in the region, by allowing the continuity of the ecological processes that take place there, it is also subject to special care given its fragility in exposure.
This area has a high biodiversity, also exhibiting numerous representative species of the region. As far as flora is concerned, as a result of the vegetation characterization study, the distribution of at least 9 types of ecosystems has been determined, including jungles, savannas and mangroves. There, various endemic species of flora coexist such as the red mangrove, white mangrove and button mangrove, which are classified as species under special protection.
Variable flood conditions, high substrate instability and therefore high fragility are maintained throughout this area. It is in these environments where animals are found in time and space, they provide them with shelter and food, and their viability depends on the good conservation of the habitat.
The types of vegetation present in the area make up a complex mosaic of communities in different successional stages. A general observation in field activities is that, due to the rapid growth of human populations, forests have been transformed, leaving patches or islands of vegetation of variable extensions in the middle of cultivated areas. It is in these patches of forest, of considerable size, where some species of wild animals are still observed that require large areas of forest to survive due to their wide mobility in search of food.
In the Bacalar region few studies have been made of the fauna; However, up to now 92 species of mammals have been registered, which represents 91% of those reported in a study carried out from 1985 to 1989. Of special importance is the aquatic fauna, which is located in the important lagoon system, for example we can mention the mojarra Thorichtys sp. endemic to the Bacalar lagoon.
The existence of felines in some areas should be highlighted, since these animals are indicators of the good condition of the ecosystems, in addition to the fact that these animals require large areas of jungle for their subsistence, thus, by conserving the areas where they live felines we are guaranteeing the conservation of an entire ecosystem.
The Lagoon Zone is one of the few natural regions that are still in a good state of conservation, which without adequate planning, conservation and surveillance, could deteriorate and even be destroyed.