A Green Microcosm in Mesoamerica - Nature Conservation Issues and Protected Areas Governance Challenges in Belize, Central America
|Series:||PLACA and Sociology|
|Date:||Mon, Oct 10, 2005|
Additional InformationWith over 65% of its territory under forest cover and its barrier reef system recognized as a World Heritage Site, Belize is one of the primary ecological strongholds within the Maya Forest and Mesoamerican Reef Regions of Mesoamerica. The country has been hailed for the tremendous progress it has made in the establishment of national parks and protected areas. Over 36% of Belize's terrestrial realm and 13% of its marine realm are currently legislated as protected areas - a total of 92 national parks and protected areas in a sparsely populated country that is roughly the size of Massachusetts. Yet many challenges remain, among these: cross-border incursions from neighboring Guatemala, expansion of the agricultural frontier, loss of wildlife habitat, involvement of rural and indigenous peoples, inter-agency coordination, financial sustainability, and institutional, legislative and management issues, among others.
Osmany Salas is currently the Coordinator for the Belize Protected Areas Policy and System Plan (NPAPSP) project. Before assuming this coordination role, he was Belize's Chief Forest Officer and Natural Resources Policy Advisor for the Forest Department from 2003-2005. Prior to graduate school in 2001-2003, Mr. Salas was the Executive Director for the Belize Audubon Society for 4 years. He holds a Master of Science, Resource Policy and Behavior, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Pizza will be served for lunch.