SAVING THE LAST SEASONAL FORESTS OF NORTHEASTERN BELIZE (Central America)

  • Focal species:
  • Secondary species: All regional endemics among all taxonomic groups
  • Countries: Belize
  • Name of organisation: COROZAL SUSTAINABLE FUTURE INITIATIVE
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro,
    contributions to running of project <1000 euro,
    manpower,
    materials
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: Job creation (wardens, guides, foresters, etc , ca 25 FTE), and tourism.

Project Description

For almost three decades, the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) has been instrumental in saving and protecting the much endangered seasonal forests of northeastern Belize (Central America). In 1989, it created the Shipstern Conservation and Management Area (8,800 hectares), a private reserve now under trust in perpetuity and integrated as an IUCN category II reserve in the National Protected Area System of Belize. Shipstern protects a very diverse mosaic of Yucatan-related habitats, among which an extremely rare coastal dry forests. It is a very important habitat for Baird’s Tapir, among many other Yucatan endemics.

In 2014, CSFI entered co-management agreements with the Government of Belize and now manages the Honey Camp National Park (3100 hectares) and the Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve (11,500 hectares), both large reservoirs of forests in a context were industrial agriculture is fast taking over. Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve, for which CSFI also received a 40-year concession to carry out sustainably forestry, has turned out to still have healthy populations of several cat species, as well as large troops of the endangered White-lipped Peccary. CSFI is presently very actively collaborating towards the creation of a large biological corridor between Shipstern and Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve, together with the government and other NGOs in the country.

CSFI applies a three-pronged approach to its work: Conservation & Education, Tourism and Sustainable Forestry (the last in FCFR only). Today, the project is being recognized as a highly efficient conservation effort. CSFI is also very proud to be an entirely field-based organization, with no offices in large cities.

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