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Apaneca - Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, El Salvador

This Biosphere Reserve hosts important ecosystems for conservation and species and has highly diverse habitats, inter alia the Paramo Montane Forests, Cloud Forests, vegetation on volcanic lava flow and conifer forests.

Designation date: 2007


Regional network:  Red de Comités y Reservas de Biosfera de Iberoamérica y el Caribe (IberoMAB) 

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 59,056 ha

    • Core area(s): N/A
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: N/A

    Administrative Authorities


    Tel.: N/A
    Email: N/A

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    Ecological Characteristics

    This Biosphere Reserve includes forest plantations, coffee plantations, grassland and crops. There are 12 species of endangered flora and 58 threatened species as well as 12 endemic species of birds and other vertebrate groups. Also found in the Reserve are species of fungi, bromeliaeds, orchids, briophytes, agaves and extermophile bacteria.

    Other ecosystems worth mentioning are the wetlands of importance to the country: Lake Coatepeque, the Laguna Verde and the Laguna Las Ninfas. All these have aquatic vegetation ecosystems and aquifer replenishment areas because of current volcanic activity.

    Almost 4,000 ha are allocated to conservation as natural protected areas (the 9 core zones), and 39,500 ha correspond to shade-grown coffee plantations that interconnect the core zones to enable a flow of flora and fauna and are thus a fundamental part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC).

    It has been submitted as a geographical unit in itself by the Land Planning and Development Plan for the Republic of El Salvador. However, the Reserve goes beyond the limits of the Conservation Area. Small indigenous populations have been identified that maintain their traditions and autochthonous language.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Certified traditional, gourmet and organic coffee-growing; Research and biodiversity monitoring in the core zones;

    Responsible tourism linked to organic crop-growing; Retrieving and promoting indigenous culture;

    Traditional crop-growing of basic grains, sugar-cane production and fisheries; Crafts, pottery, furniture-making, wood-carving; Tourist-related services.


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    Last updated: April 2021