By Aaron Humes: Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) is reporting some new activity in the several major reserve areas located in the central and lower Cayo and Stann Creek Districts.
A first aerial reconnaissance flight over the western flank of the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains area including the Vaca Forest Reserve, Caracol Archeological Monument, Chiquibul National Park, and the Columbia River Forest Reserve was recently conducted, uncovering a new clearing in the Vaca Forest Reserve and two in the Columbia River Forest Reserve (CRFR).
The CRFR clearings showed more zinc roofed structures, bulldozed roads, bulldozed ponds, cardamom, and agriculture expansion.
However, there were no new developments in either Chiquibul or Caracol. Destroyed cattle fences along the western flank of the Chiquibul National Park through targeted patrols in 2021 by Joint Force Units, have for the most part, not been reconstructed and appear to be abandoned, the organization states. These targeted operations have proven to be effective in containing illegal encroachments in the area and the continuation of such efforts is recommended.
In the southern Caracol Archeological Reserve, there was evidence of a forest fire that started on December 29, 2021 and torched 52 acres of overgrown pasture land, dominated by tiger fern, however, it burnt itself out due to high humidity.
The flight was made possible with financial support from the U.S. Department of the Interior – International Technical Assistance Program.