Jungles & Rainforests in Guatemala
Jungles & rainforests in Guatemala cover nearly 3,938,000 hectares or 36.3% area of the country and are considered among most diverse and wide-ranging forest systems across the Central America. 1,957,000 hectares are primary forest area, which is around 18% of total country land. These rainforests and jungles are considered as habitats to around 1,246 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, and 8,681 species of plants. Stats show that nearly 13.5 percent of plant species are available only in these jungles.
Though Jungles & rainforests in Guatemala cover around one-third of overall country land area, but deforestation is becoming the cause of its disappearance at a rate of 1.3% per year, which is 54,000 hectares. Nearly 17% of the total forest cover area in Guatemala was lost between 1990 and 2005. Colonization is described as the main reason behind most forest loss in this Central American country, which leads to fuel-wood collection and agriculture.
Population pressure in Guatemala actually results in land clearing and illegal timber harvesting, around protected areas. Sometimes, fires set for clearing land, spans to protected forest areas and results in disappearing jungles and rainforests. The fires burned around 65,000 hectares of forested cover area in 1998. The ongoing disappearance of forests in this Central American country is also the result of road construction, gold mining and land clearing for cattle meadow.
Latest research suggests that the continuing loss to forests reserves can be a serious threat to country environment. The country has faced significant environment impact in the past due to deforestation. Deforested hillsides in Guatemala have become more susceptible to tropical storms and landslides. Official stats show that deforestation result in loss of jungles and rainforests in Guatemala at around 80,000 hectares area per year. But some private researchers claim this figure as around 95,000 hectares or 3% of total forest area per year. Some sustainable harvesting techniques are being developed by some environmental groups to reduce impact on local forest ecosystem.