Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas"

Instituto de Biología

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


To promote its development, Mexico needs a broad and deep knowledge of the natural resources present in the tropical rain forests in the southern regions of the country. Such knowledge will allow the conservation and the rational use of these resources resulting in scientific, technological, economic and social benefits to the Mexican society and the world at large. This can only be achieved by having sites located in the tropics where such an orderly acumulation of knowledge can be accomplished.

Thus, the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" del Instituto de Biología de la UNAM en Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, created in 1967, meets the above needs. The research station permanently protects a sample of the tropical rain forest ecosystems. During 30 years scientific research has been carried out successfully on various aspects of the tropical ecosystem generating a substantial volume of literature. Such unique bank of information places Mexico in the vangard of scientific information regarding tropical rain forests.


The field research station "Los Tuxtlas" is located about 35 km northeast of the town of Catemaco and about 5 km from the gulf of mexico coast.


The university property consists of 700 hectares covered with tropical rain forest. This forest is connected to about 4000 hectares of forest extending west toward the San Martin volcano, a forest that it is part of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere reserve.


To promote and support high quality long-term scientific research in the humid tropics as well as the training of university students in the fields of tropical biology and ecology, the Instituto de Biología of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México has built a magnificent infrastructure. Part of this infrastructure includes two dormitories, two laboratories, a dinning room, a building that houses a specifalized library of books and journals, a herbarioum and scientific collections of insects, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds.The field station has computer facilities and access to Internet services.

Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas"

Instituto de Biología

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Building housing the library and scientific collections

Herbarium specimen

Lepidoptera specimens

Mammal specimens

Dinning room and other support services


The tropical rain forest in the land of the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" is a living laboratory where inventories of the flora and fauna are still being carried out. Projects range from studies of systematics and taxonomy of plants and animals, community structure and composition, autoecology of particular species, to investigations on various aspects of the dynamics of the ecosystems such as primary productivity, nutrient flow and the process of forest regeneration among other topics.

The region of Los Tuxtlas harbors the northernmost representation of the Amazon rain forest in the American continent. The abrupt topography of the region has favoured the establishment of a great diversity of plant and animal species.

The floristic diversity of Los Tuxtlas stands out together with that of other localities in the Neotropics. For example, note the values of the diversity index (H´) for the flora of Los Tuxtlas and other localities in southern Mexico and in Southamerica: .LOS TUXTLAS H´= 3.85, PALENQUE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO H´= 3.76, BONAMPAK, CHIAPAS, MEXICO H´= 4.38, VENCEREMOS, PERU H= 6.65, SACRAMENTO, BOLIVIA H´= 4.89, FINCA MERENBERG, COLOMBIA H´= 4.46.


Diversity of vertebrates in the región of Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico, and comparison with other Neotropical forests.

  Birds Mammals Amphibians and Reptiles Total  

Los Tuxtlas





Panamá: (Isla Barro Colorado)





Costa Rica: (La Selva)






The continued and combined efforts of researchers, professors and students since the creation of the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" en 1967, has resulted in the formation of a strategic bank of scientific inrformation about the tropical rain forest ecosystem that is unique in the world. The Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" is one of a handfull of research centers in the world where data are being gathered in an orderly fashion and on a long-term basis on tropical rain forest ecosystems.

Such efforts and the quality of the research conducted at the field station "Los Tuxtlas", evidenced in numerous scientific publications resulting from research projects conducted at the site, constitute an important beach head in the task of inventorying, investigating and preserving tropical biodiversity.


The existence of the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" of UNAM has been pivotal in the development of our research with the three wild primates in Mexico from the start. The logistical and operational support provided by the field station has allowed us to develop colateral projects in localities south of Los Tuxtlas in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

For further information regarding the research programs under development at the Estación de Biología "Los Tuxtlas" please write to: Jefe de la Estación, Apartado Postal 94, San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, México (fax 294-24367)

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Copyright @ 2000 Alejandro Estrada