Belize is no stranger to bold ecological preservation plans. The government’s holistic approach to nature management extends from the jungles and mountains of the Cayo District all the way to the unique beauty of the Belize Barrier Reef — but what’s happening at the Maya Forest Corridor should be enough to excite even the most knowledgeable of preservationists. And if the model works, it could potentially set a blueprint for other conservation projects both in Belize and elsewhere.
The Maya Forest Corridor
While it can be easy to see different ecosystems as bubbles with their own comfortably self-contained relationship of flora and fauna, that’s rarely actually the case. Like many Central American nations, Belize is home to a wide variety of different ecosystems, and each is home to its own selection of wildlife.
But the simple fact is that animals don’t understand the territorial lines that we set as humans — and many animals prescribe to territories that have them spanning multiple habitats. The stretch of interior known as the Maya Forest Corridor is essentially the equivalent of an interstate highway for much of Belize’s wildlife. The Corridor connects together two of the most important habitats within the country — the Belize Maya Forest located in the northwestern Cayo District and the Maya Mountains Massif network to the south.
This stretch of land is traversed by fierce jaguars and other wild cats in addition to less frightening creatures like opossums and tapirs. Jaguars, in particular, rely on this corridor — as these solitary and endangered predators rely on large stretches of territory. And while Cockscomb Basin offers the world’s first jaguar preserve, it won’t be enough to reintegrate them into their environment on its own.
What’s Being Done to Protect It
Fortunately, conservationists throughout Belize realize how critical this corridor is to the ecosystem, and the Belize government has begun buying up land along the Coastal Road as a way to bolster the corridor and create a network of preserves that can maintain its existence.
That’s not to say that the future of the Maya Forest Corridor is certain. While the Belizean government is well known for its commitment to ecological preservation issues, there are plenty of industries and interests that could make use of the land within the corridor. If you want to see this stretch of beauty for yourself and see why the Maya Forest Corridor is such a big deal, be sure to stay at Chabil Mar – the ideal gateway for your journeys into the country’s rugged interior.