Mesoamerica is a biodiversity hotspot; with only 0.5 percent of the world's land area, the region is home to 7 percent of the world's biological diversity, including rare and endangered species. Natural forests such as the 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica contain more than six times the carbon of the most degraded forests and hold approximately half of the region's forest carbon stocks. They also provide essential ecosystem services to five million people.
The 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica are Selva Maya in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize; La Moskitia in Nicaragua and Honduras; Indio Maíz-Tortuguero in Nicaragua and Costa Rica; La Amistad in Costa Rica and Panama; and El Darién in Panama and Colombia.
Mesoamerica's most vulnerable populations to climate change, women and men in indigenous and local forest communities, manage and protect half of the remaining forested area in the five forests, depending on their resources for cultural identity, food security, income, and more.
Forests managed by indigenous peoples with secure tenure have much lower deforestation rates than forests outside indigenous lands.
The 5 Great Forests Alliance which includes governments, NGOs, academia, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities partners, has announced its commitment to protecting the 5 Great Forests of Mesoamerica — the last remaining intact forests from Mexico to Colombia critical for wildlife, carbon sequestration, clean water, and food security to five million people.