The Nature Conservancy - Parks in Peril
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Rio Bravo

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Belize is the least-populated country in Central America, with almost 270,000 residents. The country is of great conservation interest, not only due to its diverse flora and fauna, but because much of its natural habitat remains untouched. The first protected area was established in the 1920s by the British government and since Belize’s independence in 1981, the country’s land under protected status has increased significantly. Almost half of Belize is under protection, with 12 percent of its marine area receiving conservation attention, as well. The unspoiled rain forests and savannas of Belize are the well known home to jaguars and four other cat species, spider and howler monkeys, tapirs, peccaries and nearly 350 species of birds, many of which migrate between Belize and the United States.

measuring sunlight in mahogany gaps

Measuring sunlight in mahogany gaps, Rio Bravo
© Tony Rath


Although just slightly smaller than Massachusetts, Belize encompasses lush tropical rain forests, coastal mangrove forests, offshore cayes and the Meso-American Reef — the second largest barrier reef system in the world.

Belize Partner Organizations


Rio Bravo Conservation & Management Area

Covering 4 percent of Belize's total land, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area is part of the larger tri-national Maya Forest and encompasses 260,000 acres of lush rainforest in northwestern Belize. Read more...