Over 10,000 seedlings have successfully been raised and cared for by the Arenal Women’s Conservation Group and are now ready for planting. This has kept the Environmental Educator and Extension Technician active in distributing the plants along the villages that are found along the banks of the Mopan and Macal Rivers. The communities that have received 300 plants each includes Arenal, Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Jose Succotz, Calla Creek, Bullet Tree, Cristo Rey, Santa Familia, San Ignacio and Santa Elena. These plants have included Mahogany, Cedar, Zericote and Tamarind.
Dr. Ed Boles notes that riparian forests are a most threatened ecosystem in Belize due to the deforestation rate. These forests help stabilize the banks of streams and rivers, serve as wildlife habitat, refuge, and corridors, provide nutrients to streams and rivers (leaves, wood, fruits), shade the water and provide temperature options for aquatic life, add submerged wood and leaf habitats to streams and rivers and filters sediment, pesticides, and nutrients from storm water. Because of these roles, reforestation along the banks of denuded riverbanks is critical. The management plan for the Belize River Watershed produced in 2018 by the WWF and the University of Belize recommends the development of a Restoration Nursery Network and conservation of the River Commons as a mechanism for improving the quality of the mid reaches of the Belize River Watershed, thus we are glad to be part of those recommended interventions.