The Annotated Ramsar List: Belize

10/01/2000

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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

BELIZE / BELICE

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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Belize on 22 August 1998. Belize presently has 2 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 23,592 hectars.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.22/04/98; Belize, Orange Walk; 6,637 ha; 17º44’N 088º29’W. Wildlife Sanctuary. A subtropical freshwater complex comprising a network of shallow lagoons, streams, creeks, and marshes. The larger of the two included areas centers upon the island village of Crooked Tree (ca.180 households), founded as a logging camp ca.1750, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Belize; a secondary group of wetlands, including Jones and Mexico Lagoons, lies on the far side of the Northern Highway a kilometre to the east. The area provides critical habitat for wildlife, particularly migratory and local birds, and the shallow water system is especially important for wading species. A number of Mayan archaeological sites are found in the area. Villagers practice subsistence farming, livestock raising, fishing, logging, and charcoal production, and the area is well-known for its cashew products, especially wine. Development to the northeast raises the possibility of habitat fragmentation and pollution. The Sanctuary is managed on behalf of the Government by the Belize Audobon Society. Ramsar site no. 946. Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Sarstoon Temash National Park.19/10/05; Toledo; 16,955 ha; 15°58'N 089°00'W. National Park. A complex of several different terrestrial ecosystem types located on the southern frontier with Guatemala, bisected by two large rivers, one of which forms the border. Seasonally and permanently flooded forests predominate, with some 1,100 hectares of lowland sphagnum moss bog unique to the region, a saline/brackish inland lagoon, and 9,600 ha of saline swamps, with the country's most undisturbed and largest stand of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and its only stands of Comfra Palm (Manicaria saccifera). Several threatened and vulnerable species are supported, such as Black Howler Monkey, the Hickatee Turtle, the tapir Tapirus bairdii, the West Indian Manatee, and Morelett's Crocodile. The buffer zone of the park is home to the indigenous Kekchi Maya and Garifuna people, both of which attach high cultural importance to parts of the site. Stands of mahogany, cedar, and rosewood are targets for illegal crossborder logging efforts. The Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) is active in research and management planning for the site and has a co-management agreement with the government. Ramsar site no. 1562. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

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