Our Programs

  • Environmental Education

    Environmental Education is one of FCD’s early pillars and it continues to be an important program. In 2007 the program centered its public awareness among 22 communities located in the Maya Mountains buffer areas, across the Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts. A year later it focused its program on the water resources of the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains. Water – Blue Gold program evolved into the creation of a bi-national alliance that now comprises 19 communities aimed at protecting the shared water resources between Belize and Guatemala to include the Chiquibul River, Mopan River, Macal River and the Belize River. Annually FCD’s two educators work closely with these 19 communities in areas of community outreach, reforestation and clean up campaigns. In September 2014, FCD together with regulatory agencies in Guatemala created a Permanent Commission for Environmental Education in South Peten, Guatemala where public awareness and community outreach are critical in the protection of the Chiquibul landscape.

  • Research

    FCD’s research program is multi-purpose, namely to generate data for management purposes, to inform the public about the actual situation in the Chiquibul Forest, inform decision makers about the trends developing across the Chiquibul landscape and keep funders and donors informed of environmental needs and outputs. The research team comprised by three field technicians and a Biologist is guided by the FCD Biodiversity Research, Inventory and Monitoring (BRIM) Framework. Baseline data on conservation targets, identified on BRIM, have been established including macro-invertebrates, scarlet macaws, game species, xate and mahogany. FCD’s research team also spends 6-8 months conducting bio-monitoring of scarlet macaws in the Chiquibul, which is the only breeding area in Belize. The research team is based at Las Cuevas Research Station. This station can accommodate up to 50 students and professors at any given time and has all the services available.

  • Enforcement and Patrols

    In order to have a presence throughout the over 423,000 acre Chiquibul landscape, FCD has instituted the North and South Joint Forces Units, operated by FCD rangers, Belize Defence Force and Police Department personnel. These Units are located in Conservation Posts. The first conservation post, Rio Blanco was created in 2008. In 2010 Tapir Conservation Post was installed and in 2012 the Ceibo Chico Conservation Post was activated. Presently three more conservation posts are under design stage. From the Conservation Posts, patrols are launched to monitor and where necessary detain poachers and process them in court. Hotspots are monitored through ground reconnaissance, water surveillance and aerial flights. Drones have been tested and other technology are being explored to make the patrol system more effective and efficient.

  • Extension Services

    The Vaca Forest Reserve borders the northern flank of the Chiquibul National Park. Since 2010 with a request from the Forest Department, FCD developed a Landscape Management Strategy that was aimed at incorporating local community members to participate in the restoration, protection and production of the forest reserve. Since then 22 farmers that have been operating near and inside the reserve have created the Friends of the Vaca Forest Reserve whose interest is to embrace a stewardship role of this reserve. FCD’s extension technician has worked closely with these farmers and cattle ranchers near the reserve, teaching them agro-ecological methods that can make better use of the land. FCD has also enabled for the Forest Department to provide a bee-keeping concession to the Cayo Quality Cooperative and has steadily been building the capabilities of the farmers with an outlook for them to be a good example in the protection of forest reserves through local participation.

  • Bi-National Relations

    The challenges in protecting the Chiquibul ecosystem is derived from a set of 11 threats. All of the threats are trans-boundary, originating from neighbouring Guatemala. FCD believes that since the Chiquibul forest contains vast environmental services and goods that are utilized not only be Belizeans but also Guatemalans such as the water resources then there must be a shared responsibility. FCD’s bi-national relations program has taken FCD to sign five agreements with both agencies of Government and the NGO sector. The build-up of collaborative efforts across borders have ranged from exchange visits, implementation of pilot programs, environmental education, confidence building activities and joint fundraising. Due to the diverse actions undertaken and on the pipeline FCD has demonstrated that at NGO’s can be innovative and can develop certain actions more effectively with less bureaucracy. A paper on Science Diplomacy has been developed where FCD’s work is encapsulated as a strategy that requires more attention and support.

  • Thank you for taking the time to visit us and learn about our multiple programs that are arduously pursued by the Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD).