Carbon Project Supports Rio Bravo Reserve
In the 1990’s, the Programme for Belize (PfB) started working with eight utility companies claim carbon offsets. The financial participants, who owned the carbon credits, donated a portion of their offsets for the project to raise an endowment fund with a target of $2.7 million.
The program expects the to meet that goal in 2018. Once it does, the endowment will definitely contribute to the long-term financial sustainability of the reserve. The funds will be used for financing the project and the protection of long-term biodiversity of the reserve.
So far, the project has resulted in the expansion of the reserve to 254,000 acres, increasing the capacity of PfB in protected areas and forest management and carbon offsets estimation and protection.
This year, the project also enabled PfB to host the San Felipe Village Primary School to visit the reserve on World Environment Day. Students learned about the carbon sequestration project and the overall management of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.
In addition, the carbon offset project has also enabled PfB to continue employing a ranger team that protects the reserve. The ranger protection efforts have ensured the protection of 200 species of trees, 330 species of birds, 30 species of freshwater fish, and 80 species of mammals—including the five wild cat species native to Central America.
The fact that the wildlife is thriving in Rio Bravo is evident through the wildlife sightings of the rangers and field staff. For example, in May 2017, the forestry staff, researchers, and students from Defiance College observed a young jaguar trying to prey on a spiny-tailed iguana at Hill Bank. They were even able to film it for a few minutes!
Just one example of an experience that would not have been possible were it not for the carbon sequestration project.