The central highlands region has extensive forests of oak and pine on the slopes, but lower valley elevations show damage from fire and agricultural activities. The largest pine savanna in the rainy tropics stands on the lowlands behind the Mosquito Coast. The wet and humid Caribbean coastal plain has an abundance of tropical forest, with wild rubber, cedar, ebony, mahogany, and rosewood attracting some exploitation.
Wildlife includes the puma, deer, monkey, armadillo, alligator, parrot, macaw, peccary, and several species of snakes (some poisonous). Lake Nicaragua contains the only freshwater sharks in the world, owing to a prehistoric geological movement that separated the lake from the Pacific Ocean, gradually changing the ocean water into fresh water.