Central American montane forests

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua

A scattered range of temperate forest patches located along volcanic mountain ranges at altitudes of between 1,800 and 4,000m. The area is generally quite wet with high cloud cover and cold temperatures at night.

Central American montane forests


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13,200 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​



Background – CC Attribution 2.0 Generic – Joe from Boston, 2006 / 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 such as Quercus skinneri, Quercus castanea and Quercus calophylla; all native oak trees to this montane ecoregion. Confierous species such as the Mexican Yew (Taxus globosa) or the Guatemalan Fir (Abies guatemalensis) are also great, 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 beautiful Mamey (Magnolia guatemalensis) or Drimys granadensis. To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant hardy tall shrubs like Cornus disciflora and Ilex pallida but keep them pruned to retain shorter form. 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.


Bushy native grasses like Peruvian Feathergrass (Jarava ichu) will help create a thick ground-layer for insects. 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 a series of forest patches located at altitudes of between 1,800m to 4,000m and includes the summits of some of the region’s active volcanoes. The forests are a latitudinal relic of those more common to the north and include dominant species such a pines, oaks, junipers and firs. The area has a temperate climate despite it being in a tropical – subtropical biome, and this is largely due to the high altitude of its occurence across its range, and a varied geology. Much of the area is volcanically-active and as such the plant and animal communities can be exposed to extreme stochastic eruptions that can dramatically alter the local ecology. At the highest points of the ecoregion, montane grasslands dominated by tussock grasses occur. The area supports a wide array of fauna including high bird, frog and bat diversity.
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.


Igneous mountain 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

Woodpeckers are master carpenters - they have a keystone role in creating micro-habitats amongst the trees for other species including owls, reptiles and fungi. The Golden-olive Woodpecker helps to create such habitat by creating hollows, cracks and fissures in trees as it feeds and breeds.

Life-support Systems​

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