Protected Areas Management (PAM)Protected Areas Management is at the heart of Ya’axché’s work. Ya’axché manages the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve (GSCP) and co-manages Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR) with the Belize Forest Department. The Ya’axché ranger team is one of the best trained in Belize. The ten rangers have skills in biodiversity monitoring, environmental law, arrest techniques, navigation, fire management and more. In fact, Ya’axché’s ranger training program has been so successful that the organization was chosen by the University of Belize to design a ranger-training program for the whole of Belize.
The Ya’axché ranger team is one of the best trained in BelizeThe rangers patrol the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, Bladen Nature Reserve and other areas along trails and rivers, monitoring biodiversity and water quality and enforcing protected area laws. In recent years Ya'axche's rangers have been developing their skills in field research and providing valuable support to visiting researchers in disciplines ranging from freshwater ecology, herpetology, botany, forestry, malacology and traditional Mayan medicine. The team has also become an integral part of the Southern Belize Fire Working Group which conducts prescribed burns of the savannah to prevent wildfire and maintain the ecological balance of this fragile ecosystem.
Ya'axché rangers Anignazio Makin and Octavio Cal on their way back to the ranger base in Bladen Nature Reserve after a patrol. | Photo: Erik Hammar.
Ya’axché has also established several sustainable extraction zones within the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. In these zones, sustainable extraction is co-regulated by Ya’axché and community leaders. This is simultaneously serving community needs, fostering environmental stewardship and preserving forest resources that are diminishing elsewhere.
Biodiversity monitoringBiodiversity monitoring at Ya'axché is guided by the Biodiversity Research, Inventory and Monitoring strategy that was finalised in 2009 and aims to keep track of a number of indicator species that inform Ya'axché about the health of our protected areas.
A freshly made tapir track. Biodiversity monitoring is an important part of the PAM program. Various techniques are used to monitor wildlife, including recording of tracks | Photo: Erik Hammar.
Two permanent vegetation plots are monitored every 5 years and six permanent snail plots are monitored every 3 years for changes in species composition, succession dynamics and species-specific characteristics. Keeping track of all these indicator species allows Ya'axché to claim the use of a science-based management approach to conservation.