Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve is a multiple use protected area; site of Belize’s first community agroforestry concession

Ya’axché took over management of this reserve in 2015 in an effort to decrease illegal incursions, restore degraded areas and to ensure responsible and legal community access to multi-use the forest reserve.

Connecting to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Bladen Nature Reserve, the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve shares much of the high biodiversity of its neighbours, but faces much greater levels of disturbance such as wildfire, overhunting, agricultural expansion, illegal logging and incursions. As a Forest Reserve, sustainable extraction of forest products are permitted and have allowed Belize’s first agroforestry concession. The concession allows for forest restoration, decreases forest loss and strengthens the livelihoods of the communities.

Rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii) being harvested. | Map: Maximiliano Caal

The MMNFR, along with the Bladen Nature Reserve and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, form the Monkey River Watershed which supplies water to thousands of Belizeans and the commercial banana industry. This underlines the need for curbing deforestation in the area and, provides the impetus for the ground-breaking development of Belize’s first agroforestry concession. This concession permits shade grown cacao in an agroforestry system and provides the economic incentive necessary to curb illegal slash and burn agriculture.

Our team has recorded the presence of the beautiful Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) in Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal courtesy of The Belize Zoo

Size of Protected Area
36,000 Acres

Species found in Protected Area
Scarlet Macaw, jaguar, Yucatan Black Howler Monkey, Baird’s Tapir

Sustainably grown crops
Cacao & Coffee-based agroforestry

Ecosystems found in Protected Area
17 Ecosystems

DON’Ts in Protected Area
Extraction, Agriculture, Camping without permit, Fire

DOs in Protected Area
Sustainable planned extraction, Agriculture, Education, Tourism

Threats to Protected Area
Wildfire, Overhunting, Agricultural expansion, Illegal logging


PDF: Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve poster
PDF: Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve: Agroforestry Concession Case Study