SIAN KA’AN BIOSPHERE RESERVE, QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO
In the Mayan language Sian Ka’an means “Where the Sky is Born.” This UNESCO World Heritage Site and RAMSAR Convention Wetland of International Importance is high in biodiversity, home to over 300 bird species and some 23 ancient Mayan archeological sites. Sian Ka’an is justly famous for its red and black mangroves whose striking aerial roots pierce the canopy. This is one of the largest mangrove marshlands in the world.
Sian Ka’an’s mangroves are highly productive habitats for fish and birds. They support today’s Mayans, who benefit from the expanding opportunities for ecotourism and lobster fishing enabled out by their local cooperatives.
Sian Ka’an’s mangroves provide a unique transition between the tropical rainforest inland and the Caribbean. Fresh water flowing into Ascension Bay from upland rainforests carries essential nutrients like nitrogen to the mangroves. The mangroves manufacture tannic acid, staining the water brown, which then flows into the ocean where it preserves offshore coral reefs by reducing their exposure to damaging UV radiation. Over millennia this virtuous circle protected the ancient Mayan cities inland from hurricanes.
Visit and donate: The Amigos de Sian Ka’an is a leading Mexican NGO dedicated to conservation and sustainable development. It is engaged in a multi-faceted program to rebuild the mangroves in areas threatened by development. https://www.amigosdesiankaan.org/en