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Mexican biogeographic provinces: Map and shapefiles

by Juan J. Morrone y Tania Escalante

We provide a map of the 14 biogeographic provinces of Mexico based on the ecoregions recognized f... more We provide a map of the 14 biogeographic provinces of Mexico based on the ecoregions recognized for the country, which combine climatic, geological and biotic criteria. These provinces belong to the Nearctic region (Californian, Baja Californian, Sonoran, Chihuahuan Desert and Tamaulipas provinces), Neotropical region (Pacific Lowlands, Balsas Basin, Veracruzan and Yucatán Peninsula provinces) and the Mexican transition zone (Sierra Madre Occidental, Sierra Madre Oriental, Transmexican Volcanic Belt, Sierra Madre del Sur and Chiapas Highlands provinces). In order to facilitate future biogeographic analyses, we provide a file of the biogeographical regionalisation of Mexico by converting the map into a polygon shapefile and a raster file with all provinces. We also separately provide each of the provinces in vector and raster format. All the maps are in geographical and Lambert Conformal Conic projections. Mexico is situated between the Nearctic and Neotropical regions. During the 20th century, several authors have recognized biogeographic provinces for the country, with different names and circumscription. In the most recent biogeographic regionalization analyses, 14 provinces have been recognized: five assigned to the Nearctic region, four assigned to the Neotropical region and five included in the Mexican transition zone (Morrone 2005, 2010, 2014; Espinosa Organista et al. 2008; Escalante et al. 2013, 2014). In order to provide standard name, we followed the International Code of Area Nomenclature (ICAN; Ebach et al. 2008), applying the priority principle. In addition to the different names that these provinces have received, there is little agreement on their precise boundaries. This is a serious problem, because different authors may consider that they are referring to the same biogeographic province but their units are not strictly comparable. In order to unify the different biogeographic schemes into a single system, as suggested by Challenger and Soberón (2008), we consider that the boundaries of the ecoregions are appropriate, because they combine climatic, geological and biotic criteria. Thus, we provide herein a map of the biogeographic provinces of Mexico based on the ecoregions recognized for the country (INEGI-CONABIO-INE 2008) and the corresponding files for their use in several Geographic Information Systems. Although some of the provinces in the geopolitical borderlines continue naturally north and south of the country, we only consider the geopolitical limits of Mexico, because our aim is to strengthen and uniform their use in national science and conservation politicies.

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