Bladen Nature Reserve is the ‘crown jewel’ of Belize’s protected area system

Considered to be one of the most biodiversity-rich, and geographically unique areas within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, Bladen forms a significant portion of the Maya Mountains Massif.

Bladen’s large expanse of primarily forested uplands and valleys are essential for the survival of regionally iconic species such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), scarlet macaw (Ara macao), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja). Furthermore, Bladen provides a refuge for more than 57% of all mammal species known in Belize. Bladen plays a vital role in restocking animal population, including fish, in surrounding forests and downstream freshwater habitat where communities can harvest.

A pair of Geoffroy’s spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in the high tree tops in Bladen Nature Reserve. | Photo: Erik Hammar

Largely protected from hurricanes, Bladen’s forest has a little-disturbed structure supporting 20 intact ecosystem types and high species diversity across a great range of elevations. With its diversity of altitude, geology, aspect and hydrology, Bladen Nature Reserve offers perhaps the most diverse range of conditions for plant life of any protected area in Belize. Assessment has found tree species diversity to be highest in Central America and experts estimate upwards of 4000 plant species may be present.


Muc (Cymbopetalum mayanum), an endangered tree species, feeds about 40 different species of migratory birds en route to South America. | Photo: Dr Steven Brewer


Size of Protected Area
99,796 Acres

Globally Endangered Species
2 Plant, 2 Bird, 3 Mammal

Species found in Protected Area
337 Bird, 20 Fish, 93 Mammal, 92 Herpetile

Ecosystems found in Protected Area
20 Ecosystems

DON’Ts in Protected Area
Fishing, Hunting, Logging, Tourism

DOs in Protected Area
Environmental Education, Research and monitoring

Threats to Protected Area
Wildfire, Hunting, Agricultural expansion, Logging, Xaté extraction


PDF: Bladen Nature Reserve poster


Conservation Leader Bartolo Teul retires

One of the founders of Ya’axché, Bartolo Teul retires after 18 years of community development and conservation in southern Belize. A conservation leader.

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