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BIODIVERSITY

humedal
Photo Jennifer Haas

Despite its proximity to the city of San Miguel de Allende, El Charco del Ingenio boasts abundant and varied flora and fauna, nurtured through years of constant protection and soil conservation work. The size of the reserve - some 180 hectares including the Botanical Garden, Landeta Park and the arroyos and reservoirs - as well as the varied topography and the moisture conditions provide a diversified ecosystem, which is undergoing a process of healthy recovery.

Various studies and inventories of the flora and fauna of site have been carried out, some published. Among these works, the magnificent book by Walter L. Meagher and Wayne Colony, "Wild and Wonderful: Nature Up Close in the Botanical Garden El Charco del Ingenio", published in 2008, stands out. Meagher also compiled an exhaustive list of flora of El Charco, which includes a total of 535 species belonging to 85 botanical families. In association with this study of flora, 51 species of lichens were likewise identified within the reserve (T. Nash et al.).

  flor y abeja
mariposa  

El Charco now has, because of work recently completed, inventories of the biodiversity of five animal groups: 156 species of migratory and resident birds (S. & W. Colony), 32 species of mammals (R. Aviña), 18 species of reptiles and amphibians (R. Hernández), as well as 110 species of butterflies (S. & W. Colony) and 11 species of dragonflies and damselflies (S. & W. Colony). These inventories for assessing richness give El Charco a database for identifying species designated as endemic, at risk, or under special protection under Mexican federal law.

 

The area of conservation is made up of three clearly defined zones, which correspond to three wildlife habitats:

The canyon ...

a natural monument made up of rocky crags, caves, pools and sheer cliffs, cut through by a seasonal watercourse and a permanent pool that rises from its main spring, El Charco del Ingenio. The canyon enjoys a microclimate that supports a wide range of spontaneous vegetation, from cacti to aquatic plants, including various succulent species, climbers, tropical deciduous trees. The fauna likewise is varied, particularly in species of birds, reptiles and mammals characteristic of canyon habitats.

matorral

  cañada

el charco del ingenio

The dry scrubland ...

which extends beyond the high walls of the canyon and the reservoir, covers the largest part of the conservation area, and represents the typical landscape of the Mexican highlands. Most of the spontaneous flora is annual or deciduous, providing sharp contrast between the dry and rainy season, when the hills are covered with greenery and multicolored flowers. Old mezquite and huizache trees rise over the grasses and underbrush, along with tree-like cacti such as the nopal and garambullo, with its characteristic candelabrum shape. In addition, this chaparral is populated by various species of mammals and reptiles, and a great variety of birds can be observed during different times of year.

coleccion botanica

            carpintero

matorral
Ilustración Dante Escalante, Historias de un Jardín charco del ingenio Ed. Santillana


The wetlands ...

spreading out over the banks and artificial islands of the Las Colonias reservoir, a permanent body of water located in the heart of the Botanical Garden. In addition to trees and shrubs growing on the banks, the shoreline vegetation, which varies with the seasons, along with fish and aquatic invertebrates support a large number of resident and migratory birds, which can be observed on the reservoir throughout most of the year. The creation of 13 islands of different shapes and sizes and with different vegetation - a job carried out by the Botanical Garden between 2001 and 2008 - has been a determining factor in attracting bird populations, providing them with shelter and good niches for nesting.


nido de pato

 

patos volando

Construction of Islands fabricacion de islas
Ilustración Dante Escalante, Historias de un Jardín charco del ingenio Ed. Santillana

fabricacion de islas

These three zones, which comprise the conservation area, can be visited by way of a network of paths and walkways covering the entire Charco del Ingenio and Landeta Park. More details are available at the information center of the Botanical Garden.

 


LISTS OF SPECIES IN EL CHARCO

FLORA, Walter L. Meagher, 2007

LICHENS, Thomas Nash et al., 2007

RESIDENT AND MIGRATORY BIRDS, Susan & Wayne Colony, 2007

BUTTERFLIES, Susan & Wayne Colony, 2007

DRAGONFLIES and DAMSELFLIES, Susan & Wayne Colony, 2008

MAMMALS, Roberto Aviña, 2008

REPTILES and AMPHIBIANS, Raúl Hernández, 2007

 

 

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