The San Pedro Sun

Mangrove Study shows positive results for Belize

A study conducted by the Belize Audubon Society and carried out by Emil Cherrington, Research Scientist at the University of Alabama to determine how mangrove cover has changed in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site and across Belize between 1980 and 2017 has been released. After three months, on Tuesday, March 20th the findings showed a positive turnout, as minimal clearing of mangroves has occurred within the Barrier Reef Reserve and with only one of the protected areas showing changes in mangrove cover.


With these new findings, there could be a chance that Belize’s Barrier Reef will be removed from the UNESCO in-danger list. “The idea of the study was because we wanted to know the status of the mangroves within the Belize Barrier Reef in a bigger and wider context. They are submitting it now to the UNESCO in our state of conservation report where we are now saying that since the inscription till now, for the past seven years, we have seen negligible or minimal mangrove change,” said Executive Director of Belize Audubon Society, Amanda Burgos Acosta. The reef system has been on that list since 2009, and according to the Annual Healthy Reefs Report Card much more needs to be done before it can be removed from the vulnerable category.

Mangroves play an important role in Belize’s environment, as not only do they act as a nursery for juvenile fish but protect the coastline from erosion and tropical storms. Environmentalist have long advocated against the excessive clearing of mangrove as it causes damaging effects on the marine and terrestrial ecosystem surrounding it.