Honduran rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 12253992
FFI works by invitation around the world to save species from extinction, habitats from destruction and to encourage sustainable development. Formed in 1903 in the United Kingdom, FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, are based on sound science and take account of human needs. Our guiding principles are to: respond to local needs, respect national priorities, develop strategic partnerships and strengthen our partners’ capacity. Our program of activities in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Eurasia is delivered principally through: building capacity to equip local people and agencies to manage their natural heritage; monitoring causes of biodiversity loss and its impact on local people, identifying and implementing solutions that benefit people and wildlife; and securing threatened areas of high biodiversity importance. FFI and Maya Golden Landscape Conservation Belize is home to some of Central America’s most pristine forests and stunning wildlife, including harpy eagles, scarlet macaws, Baird’s tapirs, jaguars and ocelots. However, agricultural expansion and unsustainable agricultural practices have destroyed two-thirds of the original primary forest in this region, while remaining sections are now fragmented, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. FFI has been working in Belize since 1998, when we mobilized funds to secure 14,700 acres of broadleaf and riparian forest land along the Golden Stream that was slated for citrus plantations and shrimp farms. We created a private protected area—the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve—and transferred ownership and management to the Ya’axché Conservation Trust, our primary partner in Belize. FFI has helped build Ya’axché’s capacity to advance integrated landscape management for equitable development and biodiversity conservation in southern Belize. We supported their growth from a small Mayan grassroots group to a nationally recognized civil society organization, and continue to support Ya’axché in achieving high standards of governance, leadership and operational efficiency and a sustainable revenue base. Today, Ya’axché plays a vital role in promoting effective, efficient conservation across the wider Maya Golden Landscape. They work with local NGOs, the Forest Department and other agencies to coordinate protection and monitoring of both private and state protected areas and to control impacts on land and marine ecosystem health. This integrated landscape approach plays a vital role in protecting the upper waters and riparian forests of three watersheds, preserving the quality of the water draining downstream and onto the barrier reef. Within this landscape, the 100,000-acre Bladen Nature Reserve holds particular importance. The Belize Forest Department tapped Ya’axché to manage this state protected area in 2008. But new settlements and greater pressure for land around Bladen have led to increased illegal incursions—largely to harvest forest resources. Ya’axché has demarcated the reserve’s boundaries and created a new trail system for strategic inter-agency ranger patrols and systematic biodiversity monitoring. They revised the management plan and work closely with buffer communities to build appreciation for the reserve. FFI helps Ya’axché secure the resources needed to protect Bladen.
Project 12253992 location - Belize, North America