Forest CoverTotal forest area: 1,653,000 ha % of land area: 72.5%
Primary forest cover: 612,000 ha % of land area: 26.8% % total forest area: 37.0%
Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005Annual change in forest cover: n/a Annual deforestation rate: n/a Change in defor. rate since '90s: n/a Total forest loss since 1990: n/a Total forest loss since 1990:0.0%
Primary or "Old-growth" forests Annual loss of primary forests: n/a Annual deforestation rate: n/a Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a Primary forest loss since 1990:0.0%
Forest ClassificationPublic: n/a Private: n/a Other: n/a Use Production: n/a Protection: n/a Conservation: 37% Social services: n/a Multiple purpose: n/a None or unknown: 63
Forest Area BreakdownTotal area: 1,653,000 ha Primary: 612,000 ha Modified natural: 1,041,000 ha Semi-natural: n/a Production plantation: n/a Production plantation: n/a
PlantationsPlantations, 2005: n/a % of total forest cover: n/a Annual change rate (00-05): n/a
Carbon storageAbove-ground biomass: 94 M t Below-ground biomass: 24 M t
Area annually affected byFire: n/a Insects: n/a Diseases: n/a
Number of tree species in IUCN red listNumber of native tree species: 4,000 Critically endangered: 0 Endangered: 11 Vulnerable: 18
Belize has substantial forest cover (probably around 55 percent), a low population density, and a history of protecting its forests. Up until recently, the greatest threat to its rainforests came from small agricultural plots. Although timber has traditionally been important to the economy of Belize, the method of selective cutting practiced by local firms has had a small impact on the forest. There are numerous reserves which protect almost 30 percent of Belize, but these tend to be understaffed and suffer from illegal cutting activities—sometimes by armed gangs.
During the mid-1990s, the government granted 16 long-term logging concessions totaling 200,000 hectares at unusually low rates. In one case, a logging concession of 64,400 hectares bordering the Columbia River Forest Reserve was granted to a Malaysian-owned logging firm, Atlantic Industries, for less than $1.50 per hectare (60 cents per acre).
It is unclear what impact these logging concessions have had on forest cover in Belize because in its most current reports, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) still lists forestry figures from 1990. However, earlier FAO reports suggest that during the 1990s Belize lost an average of 2.3 percent of its forest cover each year, giving it the third highest rate of forest loss in Central America. There are no current estimates as to the amount of forest loss after 2000. Primary forest cover makes up about half the country's total forest.
On a more positive note, Belize has an exceptional eco-tourism industry. Each year the country draws tens of thousands of nature-oriented tourists who come to see its extensive barrier reef—the second largest in the world—and tropical rainforests.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from mongabay.com operations (server, data transfer, travel) are mitigated through an association with Anthrotect,
an organization working with Afro-indigenous and Embera communities to protect forests in Colombia's Darien region. Anthrotect is protecting the habitat of mongabay's mascot: the scale-crested pygmy tyrant.
"Rainforest" is used interchangeably with "rain forest" on this site. "Jungle" is generally not used.