Central American pine-oak forests

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua

An extensive but highly fragmented ecoregion found across Central America. In El Salvador, the ecoregion is almost completely extirpated with only one large protected area remaining and many isolated and degraded fragments.

Central American pine-oak forests


0 %


111,400 km²

UNESCO World Heritage Sites​



Background – CC Attribution 4.0 International – JMRAFFi, 2016 / Map – CC Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported – Terpsichores, 2013

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!


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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 canopy trees with important roles in this ecoregion such as Chiapas Pine (Pinus chiapensis), Pinus tecunumanii, Quercus oleoides and Quercus skinneri, 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 Mexican Cypress (Hesperocyparis lusitanica), American Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), Mexican Yew (Taxus globosa) and Thin-leaf Pine (Pinus maximinoi). To create habitat, consider installation of nestboxes for native birds and creating tree hollows in old, dead tree limbs.


Plant native shrubs like Ilex pallida and Miconia albicans, as well as the beautiful climber Distimake dissectus, and consider epiphytic bromeliads amongst your shrubs 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 dense, native groundcovers like Velvet Groundsel (Roldana petasitis), Peperomia tuisana and Dorstenia contrajerva. 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.


A heavily degraded ecoregion in El Salvador, being primarily destroyed for urban expansion, agriculture and timber. This ecoregion includes several protected areas including Montecristo National Park as the last remaining intact pine-oak forest in El Salvador. The vegetation is dominated by pine and oak tree species with a high diversity of both. Many of these species are at the southern extent of their American distribution and as such provide an important outpost of diversity found nowhere else in Central America. Wildlife is diverse with primates, big cats and a wide variety of birds being found here, with many more migrants spending winter months here from the United States further north.

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.


Hills, ranges and mountains of igneous, effusive and pyroclastic rocks



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.

Green-throated Mountaingem
(Lampornis viridipallens)

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.

Cerro Pital Salamander
(Bolitoglossa synoria)

Golden-cheeked Warbler
(Setophaga chrysoparia)

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 Thin-leaf Pine is a keystone tree in these forests. It produces pyramidal clumps of foliage that protect small birds and mammals from predation, and provides food in the form of pine-cones.

Life-support Systems​

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