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Southern Gulf of Mexico
Vásquez, F.; Rangel, R.; Quintero-Marmol, A.M.; Fernández, J.; Aguayo, E.; Palacio, A.; Sharma, V.K. (2000). Southern Gulf of Mexico, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 467-482
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

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Document type: Review


Authors  Top 
  • Vásquez, F.
  • Rangel, R.
  • Quintero-Marmol, A.M.
  • Fernández, J.
  • Aguayo, E.
  • Palacio, A.
  • Sharma, V.K.

    The southern, Mexican, coast of the Gulf of Mexico supports fishing, extensive cattle ranching, crop production, and industrial and oil production activities. Along the Mexican coast there are several different ecological regions. There are semi-arid, dry and humid coastal plains and hills (north west plain of the Yucatan Peninsula), large and mostly brackish lagoons (Madre, Tamiahua, Alvarado, Terminos) and several rivers (Grande, Panuco, Coatzacoalcos, Grijalva-Usumacinta). Along this long coastline there are extreme wet and dry climates. In September and October hurricanes occur, several in the past being very damaging. North winds blow from September to March when the temperature decreases to about 6°C, and this carries rain to most of the Gulf coast. There are extensive mangrove areas and a few areas of offshore coral reefs in the Gulf (Lobos in Tamaulipas State; Isla Verde in Veracruz State; Cayo Arcas in Campeche Sound). Wetland and marsh areas are also extensive, especially around the coastal lagoons and estuaries, while extensive seagrass beds occur off the coast. For many groups of organisms, including mammals and birds, the region has a high biodiversity. However, development pressures have resulted in several problems. The activities of the extensive livestock industry which requires large areas of pasture has resulted in extensive deforestation along the Gulf coast with consequent problems of run-off. Rivers carry sediment, metals and pesticides into the Gulf waters, and over-fishing is evident for several species and in several areas of this coast. The addition of fecal coliforms to rivers, lagoons and seawater is also a great problem. New government initiatives are being developed which aim to tackle the problems of sustainable development in a region which has inadequate financial resources.

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