Central American dry forests

Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua

A large ecoregion spread mostly across the western seaboard of Central America. The dry forests are often shorter in stature and are comprised of wide-crowned trees, shrubs and woody lianas.

Central American dry forests


0 %


68,100 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​



Background – CC Attribution 3.0 Unported – davidjoviera, 2011 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International – Every-leaf-that-trembles, 2020

Help your Ecoregion
So what can you do to help your ecoregion? Below is a list to help you support your ecoregion, while also achieving life's everyday tasks. Don’t underestimate your power in doing good for nature!



Holidays: Las Flores Resort

At Home
Below is a list of actions you can easily take at home to minimise your impact on the ecoregion in which you live, and the rest of the planet too!
In your Garden
Below is a list of native plants and habitat creation tips you can use in your garden or on your property to give your ecoregion and its species a boost!


Plant native broadleaf trees with beautiful flowers and fruits such as Degami (Calycophyllum candidissimum), Pink Poui (Tabebuia rosea) and Monkey-ear Tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), if you have space. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native sub-canopy trees like the West Indian Elm (Guazuma ulmifolia) and Apak Palm (Brahea dulcis). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native shrubs like Moyotle (Justicia spicigera), Buddleja americana and Rondeletia (Rogiera amoena), and consider epiphytic bromeliads amongst your shrubs and trees like Tillandsia kammii and Tillandsia xerographica. These plants create dense shrubby refugia for birds and mammals. To create habitat, consider installing insect hotels, compost-heaps and bird-baths in this layer.


Try native perennials like beautiful Star Begonia (Begonia heracleifolia), Purple Sage (Salvia purpurea), Passiflora citrina and cacti like Deamia montalvoae. To create habitat, consider installing a pond or bog-garden with native aquatic and riparian plants, log-piles for sheltering amphibians and reptiles and leave areas of leaf-litter for important insects.


This ecoregion consists of numerous valleys, slopes and coastal ranges. The ecosystems are dominated by wide open, dry forests. The scrubby vegetation consists of medium-sized trees often from the Fabaceae (Pea) family and with accompanying communities of thorny shrubs, lianas, cacti and small plants. Wildlife is rich and varied including notable carnivorous mammals like the Jaguar, Ocelot and Margay, with primates also diverse. The area is renowned for having been cleared in large parts for pasture that supports the cattle grazing industry (primarily for beef). In many areas, some species that can adapt to edge effects caused by clearing, still thrive, but many deep-forest specialists have declined including numerous birds, tapirs and specialised plants.

Ecoregion Structure
The structure of the ecoregion is defined as the key living and non-living features characterising its ecosystems, and the differences between how these ecosystems are arranged. For example, layers of vegetation, geology, habitat features and landscapes.


Largely alluvial valleys and coastal ranges



Iconic Landscapes

Native plant communities

Scenes by @blueringmedia
Ecoregion Composition
The composition of the ecoregion is defined as the biodiversity that inhabits its ecosystems, and the differences between this biodiversity. For example, communities, populations, species, subspecies and genetic traits.
Keystone Species​
Keystone species are those that have a disproportionately large effect on the ecosystems in which they live, relative to their natural abundance there. In other words, species with a really important role in the health of ecosystems.
Flagship Species
Flagship species are those that are chosen by people to represent a wider conservation message, usually for a given place or social context, and as such often carry conservation messages for wider biodiversity.
Recently Extinct Species
All around the world, biodiversity is declining at a concerning rate. For some species it's already too late, and they have disappeared from the ecoregions they once called home. These are some examples of those lost species.
Ecoregion Function
The function of the ecoregion is defined as how its structural and compositional components all work together to form ecological relationships and processes which change over time through geological shifts and evolution by natural selection.

Keystone Relationships

The nectar from Pink Poui flowers is an important source of energy for numerous insects and hummingbird species. They locate the brilliant-pink displays when they come into mass bloom within the dry forests.

Life-support Systems​

Biodiversity is fundamental to a healthy planet and thriving communities, but the world's species are under tremendous threat.