5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 9:30 AM
Management of the endemic Rio Bravo Pine Savanna ecosystem, Belize, Central America
Darrell Novelo, Programme for Belize, Belize
The pine savannas of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area in northwest Belize are impacted by frequent wildfires lit by poachers as well as infrequent fires in other areas due to aggressive fire suppression by local land managers. This situation applies to the southern coastal pine savanna as well. Consequently, restoring the fire-altered regime is of paramount importance for the Programme for Belize in safeguarding the biodiversity and endemic species found within the pine savannas.

Frequent fires prevent re-growth and survival of pine regeneration as well as destroys nest trees for Yellow-headed parrots, an Appendix I species. Fire management is carried out with several important activities such as site protection against wildfires, hunters and parrot poachers. Fire management as a conservation tool will also aid in ensuring pine regeneration with the dual role of being carbon ‘sinks’ as well a s mitigating harmful carbon emission that contribute to global warming. Currently, the Programme for Belize is developing a savanna management plan aimed at establishing a fire regime that will take fire dynamics into account, optimize woody biomass of the savanna areas on the Rio Bravo without comprising the biodiversity conservation value of the area as a whole.

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