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Location Guatemala, Petén
Central coordinates 90o 17.86' West  17o 14.75' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 2,095,087 ha
Altitude 50 - 650m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Summary Maya-Lacandon is an important site for species restricted to the Gulf Caribbean Slope, for waterbirds, and for species requiring large extensions of tropical broadleaf forest. The site covers 19% of Guatemala and is part of the largest Neotropical forest north of the Amazon. Although this IBA is almost entirely legally protected, it faces severe threats by habitat fragmentation, forest fires, illegal logging, and unsustainable use of forest resources.

Site description The extension of the IBA Maya-Lacandon is almost identical to the Maya Biosphere Reserve, which covers the northern part of the province Peten, equaling 19% of the country. This area forms together with forests in Belize and the Mexican states of Campeche and Quintana Roo the largest Neotropical forest north of the Amazon basin. It is an important continental stronghold for species requiring large forested areas.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Plain Chachalaca Ortalis vetula resident  2004  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Ocellated Turkey Meleagris ocellata resident  1998  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus resident  2006  220 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Wood Stork Mycteria americana winter  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Bare-throated Tiger-heron Tigrisoma mexicanum resident  2006  500 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Yellow-lored Amazon Amazona xantholora resident  1998  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Yucatan Poorwill Nyctiphrynus yucatanicus resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Campylopterus curvipennis resident  1997  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Not Recognised 
Buff-bellied Hummingbird Amazilia yucatanensis resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Keel-billed Motmot Electron carinatum resident  1996  < 50 individuals  poor  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Chestnut-colored Woodpecker Celeus castaneus resident  2004  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
White-collared Manakin Manacus candei resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Lovely Cotinga Cotinga amabilis resident  2000  < 50 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet Ornithion semiflavum resident  2004  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Couch's Kingbird Tyrannus couchii resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Yucatan Flycatcher Myiarchus yucatanensis resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Tawny-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla anabatina resident  2004  10,000-19,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Yucatan Jay Cyanocorax yucatanicus resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Montezuma Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-cowled Oriole Icterus prosthemelas resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Green-backed Sparrow Arremonops chloronotus resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Shrike-tanager Lanio aurantius resident  2004  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Crimson-collared Tanager Ramphocelus sanguinolentus resident  1992  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Scarlet-rumped Tanager Ramphocelus passerinii resident  1992  50-249 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-backed Euphonia Euphonia gouldi resident  2000  2,500-9,999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-throated Chat Granatellus sallaei resident  2000  1,000-2,499 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 
Rose-throated Tanager Piranga roseogularis resident  2000  250-999 individuals  poor  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cerro Cahuí Protected Biotope 650 protected area contained by site 0  
Complejo III APSP Zona de Amortiguamiento 123,599 protected area contained by site 123,599  
El Pilar Cultural Monument 1,000 protected area contained by site 1,077  
Finca AA Private Nature Reserve 455 protected area contained by site 0  
Finca San José Private Nature Reserve 65 protected area contained by site 0  
La Democracia Private Nature Reserve 148 protected area contained by site 0  
Laguna del Tigre National Park 289,912 protected area contained by site 289,912  
Laguna del Tigre - Río Escondido Protected Biotope 45,168 protected area contained by site 45,168  
Maya Multiple Use Zone 497,500 protected area contained by site 0  
Maya UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 21,129,400 protected area contained by site 2,095,087  
Maya Zona de Amortiguamiento 848,440 protected area contained by site 0  
Mirador - Río Azul National Park 116,911 protected area contained by site 0  
Naachtún - Dos Lagunas Protected Biotope 30,719 protected area contained by site 0  
Naachtún-Dos Lagunas Protected Biotope 30,719 protected area contained by site 0  
Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 335,080 protected area contained by site 335,080  
San Miguel La Palotada - El Zotz Protected Biotope 34,934 protected area contained by site 0  
Sierra del Lacandón National Park 202,865 protected area contained by site 0  
Tikal National Park 55,005 protected area contained by site 0  
Tikal National Park World Heritage Site 57,600 protected area contained by site 57,600  
Yaxhá Private Nature Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Yaxhá - Nakúm - Naranjo National Park 37,160 protected area contained by site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned & fallow farmland, disturbed ground; Improved pasture land; Other urban & industrial areas; Perennial crops, orchards & groves  4%
Forest Flooded tropical evergreen; Gallery & riparian; Tropical deciduous; Tropical lowland evergreen; Tropical semi-deciduous  60%
Grassland Low, seasonally wet; Second-growth & grazed  8%
Shrubland Riparian scrub & thickets; Second-growth & disturbed scrub  5%
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools; Freshwater marshes & swamps; Rivers; Streams; Water-fringe vegetation  3%

Land ownership State (National Parks and other protected areas), communal (buffer zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve), and private.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 8%
fisheries/aquaculture minor
forestry major
hunting major
nature conservation and research 99%
not utilised minor
rangeland/pastureland minor
tourism/recreation minor
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: Includes urban centers (0.1%) and areas of oil exploitation.
water management minor

Protection status The IBA is entirely legally protected, with exception of Lake Peten Itza (CONAP 2007). The site contains several National Parks and Protected Biotopes, in addition to an expansive Multiple Use Zone. Two National Parks, Laguna del Tigre and Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo, have been designated as important wetlands under the Ramsar convention. The area is severely threatened by management deficiencies.

Acknowledgements Wildlife Conservation Society - Guatemala provided references and unpublished data, and hosted a workshop to identify IBAs in Peten in July 2006. Input of unpublished data and suggestions for the delimitation of the IBA were provided during this workshop by representatives of Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP) - Peten, ProPeten, Wildlife Conservation Society - Guatemala, and Tikal National Park. This first assessment of IBAs in Guatemala was conducted by Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología and BirdLife International in the Americas.

References 

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