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260,000 ACRES OF IMPERILED TROPICAL RAINFOREST IS NOW PROTECTED, BOOSTING CLIMATE EFFORTS AND SECURING VITAL HABITAT FOR CHARISMATIC SPECIES INCLUDING THE JAGUAR…

Jaguar in belize saved by rainforest trust and Kati Kaia

UPDATE: FOLLOWING ON FROM OUR EARTH DAY DONATIONS TO RAINFOREST TRUST UK, WE HAVE GREAT NEWS THAT VITAL BIODIVERSITY WILL BE SAVED FOR GENERATIONS TO COME!

Conservation organisations combined to purchase 950 sq km biodiversity hotspot, helping to secure a vital wildlife corridor! Decades ago, a radical idea was born to protect the Maya Forest in Belize. What if NGOs, the government, community leaders, and businesses could form a coalition to conserve one of the world’s last remaining pristine rainforests?

Today, that dream is a reality with more than a dozen organizations coming together to protect 236,000 acres of land that represents an irreplaceable linchpin in the conservation of the largest remaining tropical forests in the Americas, outside the Amazon. This new protected area is nearly doubles the size of the adjacent Rio Bravo Conservation Management Area previously protected through efforts led by The Nature Conservancy. Combined, it represents 9% of the landmass of Belize and secures a vital wildlife corridor in Central America’s dwindling forests.

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Together, these new protections will fill a critical gap in a vast forest network called the Selva Maya – 38 million acres of forest that includes 11 million acres of parks and protected areas across Central America. Belize has been at the forefront of land and ocean conservation; combined with previously protected areas, almost 40% of Belize’s land mass now has some level of protection in place.

Belizeans have an incredible connection to nature. We refer to our country as the ‘jewel’.
— JULIE ROBINSON, BELIZE PROGRAMME DIRECTOR FOR THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
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“The Belize Maya Forest project allows us to fulfill further our goals of reducing pressures on biodiversity, improving mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change as well as our goals of sustainable management of ecosystem for the goods and services they provide,”
— HANNAH ST. LUCE-MARTINEZ, DIRECTOR OF BELIZE’S NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY OFFICE.

SINCE 2011, THE MAYA FOREST CORRIDOR THAT CONNECTS BELIZE’S MAYA MOUNTAIN MASSIF TO THE BELIZE MAYA FOREST HAS FACED DEFORESTATION RATES ALMOST FOUR TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, DRIVEN PRIMARILY BY CLEARING LAND FOR INDUSTRIAL-SCALE AGRICULTURE. THAT WAS THE FATE THAT SEEMED VERY LIKELY FOR THIS TRACT OF LAND AS WELL…

Securing protection for this climate and nature-critical ecosystem means preserving habitat for some of the world’s most iconic wildlife species like jaguars and ocelots, as well as preserving a significant living carbon reserve that represents a natural solution to climate change. This project is a premier example of this sort of solution, preserving significant amounts of sequestered carbon, that would otherwise be lost due to deforestation, while offering valuable co-benefits, especially to biodiversity.

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In a warmer, more crowded world, the last best places to protect nature for biodiversity and climate solutions are mission critical. Innovative and collaborative protection of nature is essential not only for the survival of species like jaguars, but also for sustainable livelihoods, clean air, water security, and for addressing the climate crisis.
— DR. JEFFREY PARRISH, GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR NATURE PROTECTION AT THE NATURE CONSERVANCY.

Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands across the globe. Combined with innovations in clean energy and other efforts to decarbonize the world’s economies, natural climate solutions offer some of our best options in the response to climate change.

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Saving ecosystems like the Belize Maya Forest is critical if we’re to succeed in rebalancing humankind’s relationship with the natural world and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Not only will this partnership secure the future of a vital missing piece of the protected area puzzle in Central America’s irreplaceable forests – but also secure the livelihoods of those communities who, like the iconic jaguar and other charismatic species, depend on this precious region for their survival.
— EDILBERTO ROMERO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROGRAMME FOR BELIZE.
quotes for good

Belize has launched several initiatives in recent years to protect its natural resources. In 2018, oil drilling off its coast was banned to safeguard marine environments and the lucrative diving industry. Nearly 40% of the country’s land mass is also under some form of protection.

This is such an exciting achievement of what can be done when conservation comes together and aligns to save vital habitats and we couldn’t be prouder of our little part in this wonderful story.

 

P.S. This groundbreaking Belize project also made national news, with the purchase being featured in a major report on the Guardian website. Click on the link to find out more.

 

The Belize Jaguar, Photo Credit: Panthera

The Belize Jaguar, Photo Credit: Panthera


To celebrate Rainforest Trust’s amazing milestone of saving 38 million trees, we partnered with Vana Wellbeing to take you on a guided meditation through the tropical Rainforest of Belize, Enjoy!

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