The Belize Maya Forest has faced many threats over the years since 2011, one being land clearing for industrial state agriculture, driven by the ever growing demand for meat.
However thanks to tremendous efforts from the Nature Conservancy and more than a dozen other organisations, over 236,000 acres of threatened tropical rainforest is now protected in Belize. The forest is home to over 200 species of trees as well as over 400 species of bird. Many of the worlds most iconic species also reside in this area, such as jaguars and ocelots.
Preserving this sacred and nature-critical ecosystem is beneficial for the animals that live within the Maya rainforest, as well as helping to capture and store carbon that is released into the atmosphere, that would otherwise of been lost due to deforestation.
The new protected area nearly doubles the size of the Rio Bravo Management Area, which has also been previously protected through the efforts of the Nature Conservancy and lies adjacent to the new protected area. When combined together the two areas of land make up 9% of the landmass of Belize, with over 40% of Belize’s land mass now having acquired some level of protection. Acquiring this level of protection is also good news for the species who reside within the protected areas, as it provides them with a vital wildlife corridor, ensuring they can thrive within their natural habitat.