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Northwestern Plain of the Yucatan Peninsula

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NameColor on MapCEC Code‡
Northwestern Yucatan Plain with Low Tropical Deciduous Forest14.2.1

† Status: ✓ = Complete ○ = Needs Image … = Incomplete ∅ = Stub Only

This code refers to the CEC's Level 3 ecoregion codes for North America, see here.


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Complete w/ Images

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About the Northwestern Plain of the Yucatan Peninsula

The Northwestern Plain of the Yucatan Peninsula is a level II ecoregion located in a small strip along the northwesternmost part of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

The topography is almost entirely flat, and like the rest of the Yucatan, has a karst topography, with limestone and other soluble rocks, eroded into caves and sinkholes (locally known as cenotes), with numerous underground lakes and rivers. A major geological feature in the area is the Chicxulub crater
from the asteriod impact that marked beginning of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. It is likely that the large number of caves and sinkholes in this area are a result of the impact crater filling in with water afterwards, leading to increased erosion.

The climate is tropical and semiarid to subhumid, with a moderate seasonality of precipitation. The difference between dry and wet seasons is less pronounced than areas on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, but more pronounced than some areas farther south and east in the Yucatan. The rainy season is June through October, tapering off more gradually until the driest months of March and April. Relative humidity is high even in the dry season, owing to the proximity to the ocean.

This region is mostly covered by low tropical deciduous forest. The tree height is quite low, mostly between 8 and 15 meters (about 25-50 feet) high. Most trees lose their leaves for five or more months during the dry season. There are some cacti and succulents.

This area has significant urbanization, primarily around MĂ©rida, the largest city in the Yucatan. The remainder is mostly covered in forests, with small amounts of agriculture (about 11%.) The soil and climate of this region is not suited to Western agricultural practices. The major crop is Henequen (Agave fourcroydes), a species of Agave cultivated as a fiber plant.

This area is bordered to the southeast by the Plain and Hills of the Yucatan Peninsula, which makes up the bulk of the peninsula. This region is less consistently flat, and parts of it have a less pronounced and less regular seasonality of precicipation.