The term ecosystem was coined in 1930 to denote the physical and biological components of an environment considered in relation to each other as a unit; the whole complex of physical factors forming what we call the environment.

The degree of species diversity or biological diversity - popularly referred to as biodiversity - of an ecosystem has been hypothesized to contribute to greater resilience of the ecosystem as the biodiversity increases.
Mexico is one of the 18 countries of the world that have been defined as “megadiverse”.   With over 200,000 different species, Mexico is home of 10–12% of the world's biodiversity.  Mexico ranks first in numbers of reptiles with 707 known species, second in mammals with 438 species, fourth in amphibians with 290 species, and fourth in flora, with 26,000 different species.  Mexico also ranks first in number of species of cactus.

Mexico is considered to have the second most ecosystems in the world and fourth most overall species.  Approximately 2,500 species are protected by Mexican legislation. The Mexican government created the National System of Information about Biodiversity in order to study and promote the sustainable use of ecosystems.     

In Mexico, 170,000 square kilometres are considered "Protected Natural Areas." These include 34 reserve biospheres (unaltered ecosystems), 64 national parks, 4 natural monuments (protected in perpetuity for their aesthetic, scientific or historical value), 26 areas of protected flora and fauna, 4 areas for natural resource protection (conservation of soil, hydrological basins and forests) and 17 sanctuaries (zones rich in diverse species).                                          

Baja California Desert

The Lake Chapala region is representative of the whole country in the diversity that it is  possible to encounter.  Encroachment by humans has reduced the species of wildlife in the area, but irrigation has probably increased the available flora.  Species of birds and butterflies do not seem to have suffered from human intrusion as there are literally hundreds of each.

If you are interested in horticulture, you can construct gardens, flower pots or entire estates of whatever species of plants strike your fancy.  Plant papaya or grapefruit trees, banana or pineapple plants; try tomatoes, squash, chilis, or some of the more exotic local fruits and vegetables.  If flowers are your passion, there is no end to the variety you can grow and enjoy.

Grapefruit Tree
Papaya Tree
Cacao Tree

If you are a devotee of bird-watching, join a local group or go on your own to observe the migrations of dozens of species, and study the behavior of hundreds of local species.  If butterflies are of interest, local observers abound and you can enjoy their company or carry out your hobby on your own.