Sierra Madre Oriental

Sierra Madre Oriental

The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico, spanning 1000 km from Coahuila south through Nuevo León, southwest Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Hidalgo to northern Puebla, where it joins with the east-west running Eje Volcánico Transversal of central Mexico.

The highest point is Cerro Potosí, at 3713 metres above sea level. Another high point of this system is El Coahuilón with about 3460 metres above sea level.

Mexico's Gulf Coastal Plain lies to the east of the range, between it and the Gulf of Mexico. The Mexican Plateau, which averages 1,100 metres in elevation, lies between the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental further west.


The range is noted for its high biodiversity and large number of endemic species. The higher elevations of the range are home to the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests. To the east, the Tamaulipan matorral occupies the ranges lower slopes in Nuevo Leon and northern Tamaulipas, while the Veracruz moist forests cover the lower slopes of the central range, and the eastern slopes at the southern end of the range are home to the Veracruz montane forests.

West of the range, the Mexican Plateau is home to deserts and xeric shrublands, including the Chihuahuan Desert to the north, the Meseta Central matorral on the central part of the plateau, and the Central Mexican matorral on the southern plateau.

Although separated from the main part of the Sierra Madre Oriental by the Rio Grande, the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, southwest Texas are floristically part of the Sierra Madre Oriental, harboring sky islands of pine-oak forest.


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