Cloud forests are essentially high-altitude rainforests, though the biological characteristics and corresponding classification are much more complicated than a matter of mere altitude.
In Guatemala , cloud forests average an annual precipitation of between 2,000 and 6,000 millimeters and are found at altitudes between 1,000 and 2,500 meters. The forests essentially serve as a large sponge, retaining water that is later distributed to surrounding areas by means of evaporation or the formation of small streams.
A distinct characteristic of these forests is the presence of low-lying cloud banks forming on the mountains, under which the forest is immersed for much of the time.
Cloud forests serve as the habitat for many species of plants and animals, including epiphytes, which grow on other plants. You’ll see tree branches thick with bromeliads, orchids, and tree ferns. As for wildlife, the forests support an abundance of rare and endangered species, including quetzal birds, howler monkeys, jaguars, and wild boars.
The Verapaz Highlands still contain many of these forests, and though some patches of cloud forest can be found elsewhere in the country, many have been largely lost to subsistence agriculture.
Guatemala's largest protected cloud forest, also the largest in Central America, is Sierra de Las Minas Biosphere Reserve , and along with Chelemhá Cloud Forest Preserve  and Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera , can be found in the area called the Cloud Forest Biological Corridor .