Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018. 9:08 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources spearheaded a collaborative initiative involving local conservation NGOs: Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative, Wildtracks, and private landowners: Balam Jungle Estate and the Neulands Community, to advance a proposal to legally declare a North-eastern Biological Corridor (NBC) under the National Protected Areas System Act to be utilized for the maintenance of ecosystem services, water security, biological connectivity, and compatible sustainable income generation activities in the north-east of Belize.
The proposal to declare the NBC received Cabinet’s approval at its sitting on Tuesday.
The establishment of the North-eastern Biological Corridor, comprising three parcels totaling 5,000 hectares of national land, is an important step to ensure there is a protected stretch of forest connecting existing reserves (Shipstern and Freshwater Creek) in the north, thereby ensuring the movement of wildlife and other biological resources between these important ecosystems.
It is important to set aside the area for this type of use because it provides vital ecosystems services such as pollination, water retention and release, rain formation and flood mitigation to the surrounding sugarcane, beans, rice croplands and adjacent communities.
The natural ecosystems within the area also provide for income generation for local communities through the provision of game meat, timber and employment opportunities with the local organizations that help to manage and protect the area.
The establishment of the North-eastern Biological Corridor will also contribute towards addressing a number of other national priorities and international commitments including Belize’s Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy Critical Success Factor 3; and Belize’s commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the regional Mesoamerican Biological Corridor initiative.
The Corridor concept aligns with and supports other national policies, such as the National Land Use Policy; National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan; and the Integrated Water Management Policy.
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