Selva Lacandona | WWF

Where history and beauty collide

What and where
Selva Lacandona is a tropical forest region in the Southeastern end of Mexico. It encompasses a territory of approximately 1.8 million ha, located mainly in the mountains east of Chiapas.

Its name originates from the Mayans that lived on the border of the Miramar Lake. They had a ceremonial centre on an island called Lacan-Tun ("great stone" or "rock").

The forest boasts some of the greatest biodiversity in the humid tropic of the Americas due its altitude (80-1750m), the rainfall from May to November, with median annual precipitation over 2,500mm and its warm-humid climate.

In these species-rich forests are found about 70 mammal species like the jaguar (Panthera onca), ocelot (Felis pardalis), sarahuato monkey (Palliata alouatta) and the monkey spider (Ateles geoffroyi). There are also 306 species of birds as well as 4,000 species of vascular plants.

Its enigmatic beauty, the culture of the indigenous groups that inhabit it, great historical and landscaping value, watershed protection, Amerindian lands, archaeological sites, high biodiversity, and large fauna refuge combine to make this a very special place.

However, accelerating rates of loss of the Lacandon forests mainly due to timber logging threaten its flora and fauna and the survival of its indigenous peoples.
    © WWF / Anthony B. RATH
Black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), hanging from a tree. Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico.
© WWF / Anthony B. RATH