MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT
For the first time FCD’s Annual General Meeting is being held virtual. It is unfortunate but we feel it is imperative to bring you the most updated news about FCD and its conservation efforts in the Chiquibul-Western Maya Mountain Landscape. Great strides have been taken in the eradication of the wide scale harvesting of xate as well as illegal logging, poaching of scarlet macaws and the intrusion of cattle ranchers from Guatemala who have cleared off and fenced considerable acreages of land within Belizean territory. However, the situation is not yet under full control and efforts need to continue.
This year FCD has been forging new alliances with the Maya Leaders Alliance, Panthera, WWF-MesoAmerica and the Toucan Education Program just to name a few. These alliances we see as critical components of support to local communities who border the national forests of the Maya Mountain Massif and offer alternatives to the destruction of these forests which after all are the watersheds that provide nearly 60% of the water for our population. The fact that this is such a crucial issue, FCD has found it necessary to expand its areas of influence and have recently completed an advocacy strategy recommending a more determined landscape approach to management of the Chiquibul /MPR and Caracol Complex for which we feel we are positioned to play a key role in.
The Caracol Road Upgrade Project will encourage a growth in visitors to the forested areas of Chiquibul and with this growth will come challenges requiring better strategies and regulations to maintain the integrity of this pristine and valuable habitat.
For the past two years the office of the Economic Development Council has been developing guidelines in this respect with widespread consultations. FCD have obviously been involved in these discussions and hence the reason we see the need to expand the landscape monitoring. One of such discussions has been a proposal to institute a management presence at the Bald Hills, Mountain Pine Ridge to monitor and regulate visitation. It is time for an improved monitoring of this eastern flank as it contains the headwaters of the watershed for the Macal River and Roaring Creek.
The need for greater participation of our local businesses in supporting the preservation of the heart of our jewel is important. PACT, like other foundations, have been ardent supporters of FCD over the years for which we truly thank them. However, each one can play a role in supporting the viability of this critical ecosystem. The Caracol Road will allow those who have never ventured into these pristine areas to really appreciate what a treasure we have. I would encourage our local Belizeans to become more acquainted with the work of FCD and join us as a member. If you are planning a trip, I want to invite you to visit Las Cuevas Research Station. Just being there makes one realize just how important the Chiquibul Forest is. Be part of the FCD support systems. Thankyou.
FCD Board of Directors