Sunday, June 23, 2024

Forest Department

Public consultation on sport fishing regulations held in San Pedro

On Tuesday, January 23rd, the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) hosted a consultation session with stakeholders involved in the sport fishing industry in San Pedro Town. The meeting touched on revising the Coastal Zone Management Act on Sport Fishing Regulations. The meeting allowed participants to be part of the revision process and provided a platform through which they gave direct feedback on how management and laws of the sector can improve. The meeting also discussed three main points shared by those in attendance.

BEL continues preparations to upgrade power supply in San Pedro

Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) continues with its plans to install 10 MW of battery storage in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, to address the increasing power demand. The electricity company is currently preparing a section of a property they own in downtown San Pedro. So far, they have cleared all vegetation (mangroves) and filled the area with material to serve as a foundation where the needed upgrades will be installed to avoid a power crisis on Ambergris Caye.

BEL conducts Mangrove alteration to upgrade power supply in San Pedro; Iguana Sanctuary affected

The cutting of mangroves within a property owned by Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) in San Pedro Town has not only raised eyebrows in the conservation community but also those supporting an Iguana Sanctuary established on the said property by an islander that is now affected by such development. BEL explained the need to access this section of their property to prepare the grounds to install 10 MW of battery storage to address the growth in demand for power on the island and increase the reliability and sustainability of the electricity supply.

The future of mangroves on Ambergris Caye; what are authorities doing?

The constant development of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye has recently seen the decimation of large areas of mangroves. Most of these cases take place on private properties, clearing the mangroves for development projects. The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) said they are starting to investigate some of these clearings as a permit is required before altering mangroves. These trees are considered highly important for coastal areas in Belize as they serve not only as a nursing ground for juvenile fish and fight climate change but also as a reliable natural buffer against natural disasters like hurricanes.

Belize Forest Department Symposium

The Forest Department, which was founded in 1923, is celebrating 100 years since its creation under the theme: “From roots to canopy: a centennial journey.” To honor this milestone, the Department has planned a series of activities, each designed to highlight its journey over the past century. As part of its centennial celebration, the Department convened a symposium on August 16, 2023 to bring together partners from all sectors, experts, and students to acknowledge and present the work that the Department and its partners have been doing.

The Blue Bond and Finance Permanence Unit awards Forest Department with Equipment for Monitoring and Reporting of Mangrove Cover and ongoing Restoration Activities

On 15th August 2023, the Forest Department received seven DELLXPS laptops from the Blue Bond Finance and Permanence Unit valued at BZ$51,878.00 to improve the monitoring and reporting of mangrove cover and ongoing restoration activities while supporting the compliance of newly designated mangrove reserves and regulations. The laptops will be used to conduct the land use and land use change assessments and data analysis of the forest inventory data.

SPTC to address waste management at the transfer station

In the past, they had recommended the separation of waste; this was reportedly never done. Therefore, the SPTC will engage in an educational campaign to encourage islanders to separate their household rubbish before being picked up and transported to the transfer station.

FCD says Belize needs to protest the latest incident involving Guatemalan civilians and soldiers at the border

Following the incidents on July 23rd and 24th involving Guatemalan soldiers trespassing into Belizean territory, the Friends of Conservation and Development (FCD) stated that not only does this merit a solid protest to the Guatemalan government, but it should also be reported to the international community. FCD warns that not doing so sets serious precedence. The FCD also believes that an incident, which also saw the aggression of Guatemalan civilians against Belizean security forces, was an act of intimidation and provocation providing 'fuel' for the civilians to believe that this part of the country belongs to them.