Friends of Conservation Reports of New Clearings and Dwellings in the Chiquibul

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Updated: February 10, 2016

On Tuesday. Friends of Conservation and Development, FCD conducted an aerial reconnaissance along the western flank of the Chiquibul National Park with the intent of monitoring and documenting any expansion of the agricultural frontier. FCD says it recorded 17 new clearings and several dwellings. From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were observed. These clearings appear to be fresh indicating that the milpa activity is starting and may progress rapidly as the dry season sets in. Major areas of impact are noticeable on the northern section of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve and on the southern region of the Chiquibul known as Cebada. FCD is recommending the activation of patrols and operations to suppress the advance. This monitoring flight will help FCD develop the necessary coordination and plans to put into effect the ground effort. Meanwhile in Guatemala the communities located nearby Belize’s border are being informed through radio stations of the penalties imposed in Belize if they are caught making milpas inside the Chiquibul Forest. According to FCD, based on satellite imagery analysis and interpretation up to October last year, a total of nine thousand three hundred and eighteen acres had been deforested, this is concentrated along the 45 kilometer western border that the Chiquibul Forest shares with Guatemala. FCDs aim is to reduce the forest losses this year though they say it will require a concerted coordinated effort to be effective.