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Abies guatemalensis

ListedNovember 8, 1979
DescriptionAn evergreen, coniferous tree.
HabitatMontane forest.
ThreatsExcessive harvesting and habitat conversion.
RangeEl Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico


The pinabete, also known as the Guatemalan fir, is a densely foliated conifer tree, with short, flat leaves and upright cones. The seeds are shed from October to January. Because of the high humidity of its habitat, its branches and bark are densely covered with epiphytic mosses and lichens.


The pinabete occurs in humid cloud-forest at elevations above about 8,000 ft (2,440 m) in mountainous regions.


The pinabete is a locally distributed (or endemic) species that only occurs in a relatively small area of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and southern Mexico.


The pinabete has suffered from excessive harvesting as a source of timber, charcoal, and firewood, and for commercial sale as Christmas trees.The pinabete is a slow-growing tree, and its stands are easily depleted by excessive harvesting.

Conservation and Recovery

The pinabete is a protected species over much of its range, but the laws are not well-enforced and illegal harvesting still occurs. In some areas, local people value the pinabete extremely highly, because its intact forests are crucial in providing good supplies of clean water from mountain streams, and also for cultural reasons. Some villages have organized tree-guarding patrols, particularly around Christmas-time, to protect their pinabete stands from tree poachers. It occurs in several protected areas, including the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, and Celaque National Park, Honduras.


Instituto Nacional de Ecología
Av. Revolución, 1425
Col. Campestre, C.P. 01040, Mexico, D.F.


Vidakovic, Mirko. 1991. Conifers: Morphology & Variation. Oxford University Press, Inc. New York.