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Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life

El Salvador contains fewer species of plants than the other Central American states, but still has much of the luxuriant and colorful vegetation characteristic of the tropics, including more than 200 different species of orchids. The mountains of El Salvador have temperate grasslands and sparse forests of oak and pine. The natural vegetation of the rest of the country consists of deciduous trees and subtropical grasslands. Tropical fruit and medicinal plants are abundant.

Because of its high population density and fairly intensive farming, only 6 percent of El Salvador's land remains as forest. This has limited the survival of animal life to a greater extent than in other Central American states. Habitat destruction and logging have caused many animal species to become rare or to disappear altogether, notably the crested eagle and the jaguar. Among the mammals still found wild in El Salvador are the monkey, coyote, puma, and ocelot, along with a great variety of small animals. Reptiles include the iguana and boa constrictor, and there are 420 different bird species, including 17 varieties of hummingbirds. The Salvadoran government has established natural reserves and parks to preserve natural habitats, the most important of which are at Montecristo National Park, El Imposible National Park, Cerro Verde, Deininger Park, and El Jocotal Lagoon.

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