The Reserva de Biosfera Sierra de las Minas is a mountain range of 240,537 hectares and is internationally recognized within UNESCO’s “Man and the Biosphere” program (https://en.unesco.org/biosphere/lac/sierra-de-las-minas). This jewel of biodiversity covers an altitude ranging from 10 to 3010 meters above sea level and a territorial extension that includes Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, El Progreso, Zacapa and Izabal.
Since 1990, this protected area has been co-managed by Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza and the Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas. The reserve is not only home to at least 575 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, but it is also particularly important for its water resources, as it is the source of more than 60 rivers that supply the Motagua and Valle del Polochic.
Approximately 280,000 people live in the more than 200 communities within the reserve’s boundaries and depend on the protected area’s ecosystem goods and services.
Sierra de las Minas is considered an irreplaceable seed bank for reforestation and agroforestry in the tropics. It is also the habitat of more than 1,690 species of flora and the largest cloud forest in Central America, which represents the largest area of habitat still existing in the country for the Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the national bird of Guatemala.
In Sierra de las Minas, there is the cloud forest, which occupies 5% of the national territory and has a cloud cover or mobile fog. Because of the close dependence on humidity, these forests are particularly vulnerable to climatic changes, and are essential for water supply and water quality and maintain the flows of rivers originated, contain a high biological diversity, including endangered and endemic species. The soils are covered with a great diversity of mosses and ferns and are usually swampy in nature, with a predominance of peat and humus. Flowers of the orchid type are also abundant.
- Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, El Progreso, Zacapa e Izabal.
- 242,642 hectares