Guatemala (the name means “land of trees”) has an area of 108,899 km2, and elevations from 0 to 4,300m,
It is located in Central America; a region that encompasses various countries from Southern Mexico to Central America (Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama).
Although this region occupies only about 0.5% of the Earth’s land surface, it is home to about 7% of the planet’s biological diversity
Guatemala is considered a Biodiversity Hot Spot in the world. Guatemala’s natural diversity and highly complex biodiversity is a product of two pre historical events- the north-south migration due to the closing of the Central American isthmus, and the altitudinal migration and climate changes related to glaciations.
The country has 7 different biomes (tropical humid forest, tropical rainforest, cloud forest, montane forest, dry scrub, sub-tropical humid forest, and tropical humid savannah).
Guatemala has some 1246 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles Of these, 6.7% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 8.1% are threatened.
The total species of amphibians are 133, birds 715, mammals 193, reptiles 236. Total endemic species are 84, and threatened 101.
Guatemala is home to at least 8,681 species of vascular plants, of which 13.5% are endemic. There are 700 tree species and 734 orchid species, endemic species 40, threatened species 74.
Mesoamerica is the land where corn was domesticated with (81 varieties documented in 1925, prior to the genetic improvement also other plants were widely domesticated like, squash, a wide variety of Beans, Avocado, Cacao, Tomato, Zapote, Jocote, Chicle (chewing gum), Amaranth, Chili (Capsicum), and animals such as the Turkey.
Indigenous peoples in Guatemala
The majority of indigenous peoples in Guatemala are of Mayan descent and constitutes a majority of the population in the Guatemala.There are 21 different Maya groups in Guatemala making up an estimated 60% per cent of the national population.
The Maya are dispersed throughout Guatemala especially in the western highlands. Achi’, Akateco, Awakateco, Chalchiteco, Ch’orti’, Chuj, Itza’, Ixil, Jacalteco, Kaqchikel, K’iche’, Mam, Mopan, Poqomam, Poqomchi’, Q’anjob’al, Q’eqchi’, Sakapulteco, Sipakapense, Tektiteko, Tz’utujil, Uspanteko, Xinka and Garífuna are indigenous groups.
Mayan groups are distinguished by language. The most common of the approximately 26 indigenous Mayan languages that are still spoken are Q'eqchi, Kiche, Cakchiquel, Mam (Maya), Tzutujil, Achi and Pokoman,