Central America, with a total area of 206,000 square miles, forms a narrow strip of land that connects North and South America and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The volcanic highlands and the dry, narrow Pacific coast support most of the population, while the humid Caribbean coast is less populated and developed. The area is particularly rich in plant, bird, reptile and amphibian species.
The establishment of protected areas dates back to the beginning of the century. However, most designations have occurred since the 1970s, and by 1992, 131 sites, or 8.5 percent of the total land had be set aside as protected land.
Central America Partners
The Nature Conservancy in Central America
Photo: Rivers characterize the Central American landscape © Nancy Sefton