Mangroves in Belize

Posted by David Kafka on 06/14/2021 10:14 AM

It’s no secret that animals hold a special place in my heart. Along with that is protecting their habitat and ours. Although we are a real estate company and support new development, protecting the environment and the ecosystem is always at the forefront of any project we participate in.

One of my favorite plants, and a very crucial one to Belize, is the mangrove. image

Mangroves cover about 3.5% of the land area in Belize and are underutilized by the tour guides. Tour guides could create numerous educational tours on mangroves throughout Belize, explaining what they are, why they are important, and explore all the wonderful wildlife that call them home.

Mangroves are a major ecosystem. Belize is home to three types of mangrove (Red, Black, and White) and subspecies known as Buttonwood.

When we first explored Belize with the idea of living on the Caribbean Sea, we learned very quickly that we loved the lagoons, not only for the diversity but the access to nature.

It disheartens us to see developers decimate mangroves, especially in Coco Plum, Amik Kil Ha, and many other areas.

I was fortunate to work with Adrian Vernon, who helped me work with developers in the Amik Kil Ha area in planning mangroves throughout the canals. Sadly, Adrian passed away in February 2014, but I will always remember him, his nursery, and everything he taught me in Mangrove planting and why they are so important.

Why are mangroves so important in Belize? Because they...

  • provide fish nursery areas

  • protect coastal regions from erosion and storm surge

  • keep coastal soil together

  • maintain healthy tropical marine ecosystems

  • provide a nesting and feeding area for birds

  • provide construction material, firewood, and fuel

  • absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

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Sadly, in a 16-year period, Belize saw a decline in over 29,500 acres of mangroves, and half of that was at the hands of humans. It is reported that about 344 acres are lost due to humans every year.

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We live on a canal with beautiful mangroves, where we were able to keep our mangroves and clear a small area for our boat. The rest of our waterline is mangrove.

We have a few types of mangroves on our land, and we love to see the iguanas in the trees, fish swimming around the roots, the different birds they attract, like egrets to herons.

Naturally, the seed pod will land somewhere and sprout. Then they just get bigger and bigger. You can see the birds and iguanas love them.

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Since we live on a canal and own property on rivers, lagoons, and canals, we see how they grow, how they multiply, and it is amazing. We would love to see tour guides develop a tour package and donate a portion of that tour profits to a nonprofit that supports mangrove replanting and education in Belize.

We must talk about Mangroves and educate real estate agents, developers, and our clients about their importance in Belize and the world. The more awareness we can raise, the more likely that everyone does their part to protect them.

Learn more about mangroves in the news:
https://www.breakingbelizenews.com/2014/02/12/environmental-community-mourns-adrian-vernon/
https://www.oceanateachbz.com/uploads/1/8/3/9/18397615/mangroves.pdf
https://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/nt1406

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