36.3% —or about 3,938,000 hectares—of Guatemala is forested. Of this, 49.7% —or roughly 1,957,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Guatemala lost an average of 54,000 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.14%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change increased by 12.8% to 1.28% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Guatemala lost 17.1% of its forest cover, or around 810,000 hectares. Guatemala lost -402,000 hectares—0—of its primary forest cover during that time. Deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 17.0% since the close of the 1990s. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Guatemala lost 14.1% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Guatemala has some 1246 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 6.7% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 8.1% are threatened. Guatemala is home to at least 8681 species of vascular plants, of which 13.5% are endemic. 5.4% of Guatemala is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Guatemala Environmental profile


Guatemala: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)10,843,000
Total Forest Area (ha)3,938,000
Percent Forest Cover36.32%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)1,957,000
Primary Forest, % total forest49.70%
Primary Forest, % total land18.05%
Other wooded land (ha)1,672,000

Guatemala : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)100%
Subtropical (% forest area)0%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Guatemala: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)1,957,00049.7%
Modified natural (ha | %)1,859,00047.2%
Semi-natural (ha | %)--
Production plantation (ha | %)122,0003.1%
Production plantation (ha | %)--

Guatemala: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)4,748,000
Forest 2000 (ha)4,208,000
Forest 2005 (ha)3,938,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(54,000)-1.14%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(54,000)-1.28%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(810,000)-17.06%
Change in rate (%)12.83%
Primary 1990 (ha)2,359,000
Primary 2000 (ha)2,091,000
Primary 2005 (ha)1,957,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(26,800)-1.14%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(26,800)-1.28%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(402,000)-17.04%
Change in rate (%)12.82%
Other 1990 (ha)1,672,000
Other 2000 (ha)1,672,000
Other 2005 (ha)1,672,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)-0.00%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)-0.00%
Change in rate (%)#DIV/0!
Other 1990 (ha)32,000
Other 2000 (ha)88,000
Other 2005 (ha)122,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)5,60017.50%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)6,8007.73%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)90,000281.25%
Change in rate (%)-55.84%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)6,388,000
Other 2000 (ha)5,792,000
Other 2005 (ha)5,488,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(59,600)-0.93%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(60,800)-1.05%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(900,000)-14.09%
Change in rate (%)12.51%

Guatemala: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)1,957,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)1,957,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)18.05%

Guatemala: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)42.2%
Private (%)52.5%
Other (%)5.3%
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)-
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Designated functions of forest � primary function 2005
Production (%)26.8%
Protection (%)-
Conservation (%)62.3%
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)-
None of Unknown (%)10.9%

Guatemala: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)1.62%
Insects (ha)0.02%
Diseases (ha)0.00%
Other (ha)-

Guatemala: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20054
World Heritage sites, 20043
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land5.4%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land3.72%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20041.73%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 200417.85%

Guatemala: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species133
endemic species40
threatened species74
total species684
endemic species13
threatened species10
total species193
endemic species3
threatened species7
total species236
endemic species28
threatened species10
Wildlife diversity
total species1246
endemic species84
threatened species101

Guatemala: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species700
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered2
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic1171
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened85

Guatemala: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)755
Below-ground biomass (M t)241
Dead wood (M t)149
Total (M t)1,145
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)377
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)121
Carbon in dead wood (M t)74
Carbon in litter (M t)-
Soil carbon (M t)-
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)623
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)18,622
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)19,245
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)3
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$37,709,000
Wood fuel (US$)$159,110,000
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$196,819,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$50
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed82,000

Guatemala : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Guatemala: Environment
Environment - current issuesdeforestation in the Peten rainforest; soil erosion; water pollution
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Natural hazardsnumerous volcanoes in mountains, with occasional violent earthquakes; Caribbean coast extremely susceptible to hurricanes and other tropical storms

Guatemala: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 12.54%
permanent crops: 5.03%
other: 82.43% (2001)
Natural resourcespetroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish, chicle, hydropower

Guatemala: Economy
Economy - overview:Guatemala is the largest and most populous of the Central American countries with a GDP per capita roughly one-half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. The agricultural sector accounts for about one-fourth of GDP, two-thirds of exports, and half of the labor force. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are the main products. The 1996 signing of peace accords, which ended 36 years of civil war, removed a major obstacle to foreign investment, but widespread political violence and corruption scandals continue to dampen investor confidence. The distribution of income remains highly unequal, with perhaps 75% of the population below the poverty line. Other ongoing challenges include increasing government revenues, negotiating further assistance from international donors, upgrading both government and private financial operations, curtailing drug trafficking, and narrowing the trade deficit.
GDP - per capita$4,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)3.1% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productssugarcane, corn, bananas, coffee, beans, cardamom; cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 22.8%, industry: 19.1%, services: 58.1% (2005 est.)
Industries sugar, textiles and clothing, furniture, chemicals, petroleum, metals, rubber, tourism
Economic aid - recipient$250 million (2000 est.)
Debt - external$5.503 billion (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line (%)75% (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 50%, industry 15%, services 35% (1999 est.)

Guatemala: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)14,655,189
Population growth rate (%) (2005)2.57%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)135.2
Percent rural (2003)53.7%
Median age (years)total: 18.47 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)4.53 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)Mestizo (mixed Amerindian-Spanish - in local Spanish called Ladino) and European 59.4%, K'iche 9.1%, Kaqchikel 8.4%, Mam 7.9%, Q'eqchi 6.3%, other Mayan 8.6%, indigenous non-Mayan 0.2%, other 0.1% (2001 census)

Largest Cities in Guatemala

Cities and urban areas in Guatemala with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World�s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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