Belize sits on the cusp of protecting the key piece of the largest rainforest preserve north of the Amazon. In April 2021, the Nature Conservancy and a consortium of conservation organizations purchased 368.75 mi2 in northwestern extent of the country, which is now the Belize Maya Forest. This area connects protected areas in Belize and adjacent protected areas of La Selva Maya in Guatemala and Mexico. In southern Belize, the Maya Mountains Massif contains a network of protected areas. In between lay ~124 mi2 of uncertainty, which conservationists hope will soon become the Maya Forest Corridor (MFC). With nearly 40% of its lands under protection, Belize already contributes significantly to the IUCN’s post-2020 biodiversity framework of preserving 30% of the planet by 2030. According to Elma Kay, Science Director of the Environmental Research Institute, University of Belize (ERI), “For a tiny country with a tiny population to have all this land under protection is truly an accomplishment.” See Mongabay’s coverage of the MFC when it was originally announced here. Map depicting the extent of the proposed largest rainforest reserve in Central America including the Maya Forest Corridor, Runaway Creek Nature Reserve, and Coastal Road. Image courtesy of ERI and NAU. However, much of the region’s protected areas occurs as a patchwork on the landscape. Approval of the MFC project would consolidate the 59,375 mi2 area across the tri-country area, resulting in the largest contiguous protected area in Central America. This decision would transform 93% of Belize’s terrestrial protected areas into…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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