The 36,000-acre Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve (MMNFR) plays vital roles in providing wildlife habitat across southern Belize, and for local livelihoods, through the country's first community cacao agroforestry concession located within a protected area. Decades of illegal logging and agricultural land clearing have greatly degraded MMNFR's broadleaf. Ya'axche, with the help of Kimbolton School, seeks to reforest 12 acres of degraded land and monitor landscape wildlife via camera traps.
Decades of illegal logging, agricultural land clearing and escaped agricultural fires have played a major role in deforestation within MMNFR, which has negative effects on species habitats. Slow-growing hardwood species are the main focus of logging activity, which means that prized Rosewood and Mahogany trees are the most frequently chopped. To establish agricultural lands within MMNFR, fire and clear-cutting are the easiest and most employed methods for local farmers to utilize.
With the help of Kimbolton School, Ya'axche aims to purchase 4,000 native timber and fruit tree seedlings and related equipment to restore 12 acres of degraded land within the MMNFR. To capture and monitor how species move and utilize community land, 35 camera traps and SD cards will be deployed across 7 buffer community farms. By enabling local farmers to see the wildlife found on their farms, greater appreciation and stewardship actions can be instilled in local communities.
Reforestation within MMNFR will provide for the continuation of the broadleaf forest ecosystem which currently provides habitat for southern Belize's biodiversity, including the Scarlet Macaw, Jaguar, Baird's Tapir and Yucatan Black Howler Monkey, all of which can be found within this protected area. Together, helping to restore this broadleaf forest ecosystem and monitoring biodiversity through camera traps, will make an impact on the health and vitality at a local, national and regional level!