Modification of Tropical Forest Patches for Wildlife Protection and Community Conservation in Belize
This chapter highlights the forest management practices that are practiced in a fragmented tropical forest in Belize. The project began in 1985 and includes 8 villages home to approximately 450 people. The forested area is fragmented but howler monkeys are not hunted and have coexisted at the site with humans for many years. The project area includes 45 km² , but approximately half is cleared, and remaining forest is centered in the riparian areas.
Research Goals & Methods
Local landowners and project staff collected tree phenology data to determine food source availability for the monkeys. The authors note this as a useful research method to inexpensively collect data while at the same time involving and training local people.
Conclusion & Takeaways
Results show a high number of trees dependent on animal dispersal. Landowners retain private ownership of lands in the sanctuary, but are encouraged to retain forest corridors in riparian zones and along property boundaries. Conservation of remnant pasture trees is also promoted to ensure connectivity and seed dispersal, in addition to opportunities for strangler fig establishment, a common food source for the howler monkeys. More active management techniques include construction of feeding sites, removal of nonnative trees, living fence posts, enrichment tree planting, and aerial bridges.
Lyon, J. and Horwich, R. H. 1996. Modification of tropical forest patches for wildlife protection and community conservation in Belize in Forest Patches in Tropical Landscapes, eds. J. Schelhas and R. Greenberg, Island Press, Washington D.C., pp. 205-230.
- Merrimack College, North Andover, MA, USA