Healthy forest and rivers provide ecosystem services to 19 communities in the Maya Golden Landscape. These services are threatened by climate change, illegal and unsustainable logging, hunting, agriculture and development and will be lost without community stewardship and effectively managed protected areas.
We are passionate about maintaining a healthy environment and sustainable communities
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
WHERE WE WORK
The 770,000-acre Maya Golden Landscape (MGL) is a patchwork of protected areas, private lands, and Hispanic and Maya communities. The MGL forms the primary southern biological corridor for Belize, which is the only remaining broadleaf forest link between the Maya Mountains and the forested coastal plains of southern Belize. This link is critically important on both a national and regional scale as part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
The MGL is hailed as a site of significant global biodiversity importance. The MGL provides protection to a myriad of rare and endangered species, such as the harpy eagle, Baird’s tapir, and all five wild cat species endemic to the region. This includes the Bladen Nature Reserve – the most biodiverse protected area in Belize; Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve – a key biodiversity area; and, the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve – a critical link in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.
The southern biological corridor, while relying on the protected areas at its core, encompasses a mosaic of other land uses, primarily associated with traditional forms of farming. It is within this mosaic of land uses that Ya’axché has been working to advance and promote sustainable practices that are compatible with traditional values, community development and biodiversity conservation.
Over the last 25 years, Ya’axché’s work with farmers has evolved from basic agriculture extension services to capacity building to the use of emerging technologies that are for the benefit of all farmers in the MGL. Today, a wealth of data is being collected, stored, and analyzed for targeted and informed support to communities where its most needed. Our Integrated Forest Management Database System is the start of what we hope is a new phase in Ya’axché’s use of technology with the aim of increasing effectiveness and efficiency of our efforts in the MGL. Our work can now be visualized in a geospatial format, providing the public with a snippet of the scope of our work across the MGL.
The work of Ya’axché plays a vital role in maintaining clean breathing air, medicinal plants, food, and water quality for communities in the Toledo District and for the World Heritage Belize Barrier Reef. Ya’axché will continue to empower and build climate-resilient communities, protect wildlife, soils, forests, rivers, and reefs for a sustainable future in Belize.