Project Category
Project Category
Project Description
Project Description
The proposed project intends to address the interrelated and growing problems of biodiversity degradation and social poverty affecting Belize s southernmost Toledo District. Northern Toledo is considered a priority area for conservation in Belize because of the critical ecosystem landscapes which it contains. From the limestone karst rock geology and hillside forests of the Mayan Mountains, through the over 300 tree species found in the tropical broadleaf forest stretching from the foothills to the sea, to the mangroves of the coastal lowlands, the common refrain is diversity. Despite the global environmental significance of northern Toledo, the area has become increasingly threatened as a result of regional development patterns, population growth and poverty. When local Mayan communities themselves perpetuate environmental degradation, this largely occurs as a result of a lack of alternative means for generating income from resource use and extraction to meet livelihood needs. As such, communities often tend to rely on traditional practices such as slash-and-burn milpa farming which with increased populations, decreased land availability, and current market prices, provides meager income, while destroying the forest in the process. It is with these considerations in mind that the Ya axche Conservation Trust (YCT) has proposed the present pilot project, which aims to enhance the development of two promising forest-friendly, organic, community-based agroforestry initiatives in this biodiversity-significant area of the Toledo District. By this process, YCT intends to strengthen both community management capacity and livelihood security by engaging them in two sustainable Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) industries, able to address both conservation and development goals. The two forest-based non-timber forest products that will be targeted through the programme are: 1. Shade-grown organic cacao, an industry which is already underway in the target communities and which YCT intends to consolidate and expand upon with GEF/SGP support. Cacao will be intercropped with vegetables, fruit and timber trees to strengthen economic and ecological resilience of the agroforestry effort. 2. Shade-grown, organic xate, an industry which has just been launched in Belize, but which has considerable potential for providing an alternative source of income for community-based livelihood systems.
Our Reference Number
Our Reference Number
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