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Conservation organizations applaud government of Belize for decision to protect the Maya Forest Corridor

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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019. 10:51 am CST.

By BBN Staff: A group of conservation organizations issued a joint statement this week, applauding the decision by the Government of Belize (GOB) to enact legislation to protect the Maya Forest Corridor (MF), a stretch of land in western Belize that is crucial to the survival of many
animal species.

The group of organizations includes the Global Wildlife Conservation, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and World Wildlife Fund, alongside The Belize Zoo, Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Field School, and the University of Belize and it’s Environmental Research Institute.

Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize Minister of State within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration acknowledged that the window of opportunity to protect the MFC is closing, so urgent action is needed.

“The government and my ministry, in particular, stands committed to enshrining in legislation whatever we need to do to maintain the integrity of the Maya Forest Corridor well into the foreseeable future,” Figueroa said.

The organizations noted that the decision to legally protect the MFC also benefits people as the area provides sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services, including clean air and water security, healthy soil for agriculture, and drought and flood control for local communities.

“…without protection, the Maya Forest Corridor is critically imperiled, having already been reduced by more than 65 percent over the past decade due largely to deforestation for large-scale agricultural developments, including sugarcane. Since 2011, the Maya Forest Corridor has faced deforestation rates almost four times the national average…” the organizations said.

 

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