Located in Central America, just south of Mexico, Guatemala is a biodiversity hotspot that boasts a range of elevations and ecosystems. In fact, Guatemala is one of the 18 members of the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, a consultation and cooperation mechanism established to promote the parties’ common interests and priorities related to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The megadiverse countries contain over 70% of global biological diversity and cover about 10 percent of the Earth’s surface area. In 2014 Guatemala took over the chairmanship of the Group.
In Guatemala forests make up approximately 34% of the territory, out of which 52% is located in protected areas (The Guatemalan System of Protected Areas – INAB, CONAP, UVG, and URL). The areas managed or co-managed by FDN—the Sierra del Lacandón National Park, the Bocas del Polochic Wildlife Refuge, and the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve—cover 656,027 acres (2,655 km2) of forests, representing 7.13% of the total area of the country’s forests.
Even though the net deforestation rate has been reduced, the country is losing a yearly average of 1 percent of its total current forest coverage, i.e. 326,518 acres (1,321 km2) annually. The deforestation causes almost 50% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country and increases vulnerability to climate change. (Environmental Profile of Guatemala, 2012).