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Belize Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 1,653,000 ha
% of land area: 72.5%

Primary forest cover: 612,000 ha
% of land area: 26.8%
% total forest area: 37.0%

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in defor. rate since '90s: n/a
Total forest loss since 1990: n/a
Total forest loss since 1990:0.0%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990:0.0%

Forest Classification
Public: n/a
Private: n/a
Other: n/a
Production: n/a
Protection: n/a
Conservation: 37%
Social services: n/a
Multiple purpose: n/a
None or unknown: 63

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 1,653,000 ha
Primary: 612,000 ha
Modified natural: 1,041,000 ha
Semi-natural: n/a
Production plantation: n/a
Production plantation: n/a

Plantations, 2005: n/a
% of total forest cover: n/a
Annual change rate (00-05): n/a

Carbon storage
Above-ground biomass: 94 M t
Below-ground biomass: 24 M t

Area annually affected by
Fire: n/a
Insects: n/a
Diseases: n/a

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: 4,000
Critically endangered: 0
Endangered: 11
Vulnerable: 18

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 71,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 145,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: n/a
Wood fuel: n/a
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): n/a
Total Value: n/a

More forest statistics for Belize

Belize has substantial forest cover (probably around 55 percent), a low population density, and a history of protecting its forests. Up until recently, the greatest threat to its rainforests came from small agricultural plots. Although timber has traditionally been important to the economy of Belize, the method of selective cutting practiced by local firms has had a small impact on the forest. There are numerous reserves which protect almost 30 percent of Belize, but these tend to be understaffed and suffer from illegal cutting activities—sometimes by armed gangs.

During the mid-1990s, the government granted 16 long-term logging concessions totaling 200,000 hectares at unusually low rates. In one case, a logging concession of 64,400 hectares bordering the Columbia River Forest Reserve was granted to a Malaysian-owned logging firm, Atlantic Industries, for less than $1.50 per hectare (60 cents per acre).

It is unclear what impact these logging concessions have had on forest cover in Belize because in its most current reports, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) still lists forestry figures from 1990. However, earlier FAO reports suggest that during the 1990s Belize lost an average of 2.3 percent of its forest cover each year, giving it the third highest rate of forest loss in Central America. There are no current estimates as to the amount of forest loss after 2000. Primary forest cover makes up about half the country's total forest.

On a more positive note, Belize has an exceptional eco-tourism industry. Each year the country draws tens of thousands of nature-oriented tourists who come to see its extensive barrier reef—the second largest in the world—and tropical rainforests.

Belize Pictures

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Suggested reading - Books
Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

Other resources

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FAO-Forestry Profile

Last updated: 6 Feb 2006