As Belize is working on building excellent diplomatic relations with neighbouring Guatemala, there remains the issue of illegal farming and encroachments by Guatemalans on our territory. Friends for Conservation Development (FCD) says that they have recently conducted an analysis of human activity on the western frontline, which shows that the one-kilometer width along the border is heavily compromised because of illegal forest conversion to agriculture, cattle ranching and forest fires that are deliberately set. The group’s Executive Director, Rafael Manzanero told Love News that the situation is dire.
Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD: “What that really means is basically once we have gone on the landscape and we have ground trooping, aerial reconnaissance and on satellite imagery what we can observe is that the one kilometer adjacency zone in the context of Belize there is a high level of human activity as yet. This shouldn’t really be something new because this has been ongoing for quite some years but what we are basically indicating in that statement is that it goes now only to note that over the 65% of that adjacency zone in the Chiquibul National Park and the Caracol Archaeological reserve you will see human activity either as a result of cattle ranching, agricultural farming and the forest fires that were induced by Guatemalan communities. Now something important is that in some cases, of course it goes beyond the one kilometer adjacency zone so that statement basically it is really more speaking about the 67.1% of what we would determine it to be the adjacency zone or the Chiquibul Forest is basically active through a human presence in that zone.”
The FCD says that at least thirty cattle ranching areas are known to occur within the Adjacency Zone. We will share much more on this situation in tomorrow’s newscast.