Status
Protected
2021

Protecting Belize’s Critical Maya Forest Corridor

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Project Overview

Together with your support, we not only met—we exceeded—our original goal of purchasing 25,000 acres of the untouched Maya Forest in Belize! Thanks to your generosity, we were able to protect a total of 29,941 acres (a 20% increase).

  • Species at Risk

    5 species

  • Carbon stored

    2,919,000*

    *(metric tons of CO2 equivalents)
  • Partner

    Global Wildlife Conservation, now Re:wild

  • 29,941 Acres Conserved by

    Purchase

Project Cost: $4,800,000
Funding Raised: $4,800,000

Please note that your donation may not be immediately reflected in the funding thermometer above.

Belize
Acres

29,941

Project Overview

Together with your support, we not only met—we exceeded—our original goal of purchasing 25,000 acres of the untouched Maya Forest in Belize! Thanks to your generosity, we were able to protect a total of 29,941 acres (a 20% increase).

  • Species at Risk

    5 species

  • Carbon stored

    2,919,000*

    *(metric tons of CO2 equivalents)
  • Partner

    Global Wildlife Conservation, now Re:wild

  • 29,941 Acres Conserved by

    Purchase

Project Cost: £3,478,260
Funding Raised: £3,478,260

Please note that your donation may not be immediately reflected in the funding thermometer above.

Belize
Acres

29,941

The broadleaf forests of central Belize connect two of the largest swaths of intact protected habitat in Mesoamerica, forming the most expansive forest block north of the Amazon.

Located between the Maya Mountains and the tri-national Maya Forest of Belize, Mexico and Guatemala, the Maya Forest Corridor has been recognized by the Belizean government as an area of natural significance. This untouched stretch of forest supports numerous threatened species and connects protected area refuges, ensuring the genetic viability of wildlife populations. But without urgent protection, agricultural expansion will isolate existing protected areas and threaten the region’s sensitive species.

Several Endangered mammal species inhabit the forest including Baird’s Tapir, Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey and the Yucatán Black Howler Monkey. Populations of iconic species such as Jaguars and White-lipped Peccaries depend on the connectivity of this forest block for their long-term viability in the region. The presence of White-lipped Peccaries indicates forests with limited human intervention, as the species has disappeared from 87% of its historic range in Mesoamerica due to habitat loss and hunting. In addition, the Critically Endangered Central American River Turtle, the only living species in its family, lives in the creeks and lagoons of the Cox Lagoon wetlands in the Maya Forest Corridor. Researchers have identified this site as the most important location in Belize for the protection of this species, known locally as the Hickatee or Tortuga Blanca.

Explore the Maya Forest

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The Maya Forest, by Stephanie Wester/Rainforest Trust

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Agricultural encroachment near the proposed site. Photo by Chris Jordan

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Geoffroy's Spider Monkey, by Natalia Kuzmina/Shutterstock

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Measuring a male Central American River Turtle. Photo by Thomas Rainwater

The White-lipped Peccary
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The White-lipped Peccary, by Ondrej Prosicky

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Yellow-headed Amazon, by Francis Canto

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Central American River Turtle, by Donald McKnight

The Threat

Stop deforestation

Forest clearing and unsustainable agriculture are spreading rapidly in neighboring countries and have already decimated nearby Guatemalan forests. Despite its global significance for biodiversity, the proposed protected area faces an imminent threat from conversion of primary forest into sugar cane plantations. This habitat fragmentation would be detrimental to wide-ranging species such as Jaguar, Baird’s Tapir and Geoffrey’s Spider Monkey, which require vast expanses of habitat.

The Solution

Join our lasting solution

To secure a key portion of the Maya Forest Corridor, Rainforest Trust, Global Wildlife Conservation (now Re:wild), and a local consortium of partners seek $4,800,000 to purchase 25,000 acres of private land. This will secure over half of a 43,887-acre stretch of forest identified as critical for habitat connectivity between existing protected areas. Once the partner acquires the three properties, the land will be placed in a trust in the name of a new civil association which will manage the land. The civil association’s Board of Directors will be comprised of members from seven different NGOs with the management and fundraising capacity to ensure this protected area’s sustainability. This land trust guarantees perpetual protection under Belizean law. A collective of local and international collaborators will develop a management plan for the site.

100% of your money goes to our conservation efforts

Our board members and other supporters cover our operating costs, so you can give knowing your whole gift will protect rainforests.

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