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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Central american Country of Belize is following though on Nobel Winning Ecologist Edwin O. Wison's call to SAVE HALF EARTH by creating a 110 square kilometer(42 square miles) nature reserve to be known as the BELIZE NORTHEASTERN BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR...................Here at home in the USA, the Country that developed the World's first National Park, EcoIogist Wilson challenges all of Americans to think equally as big as Belize.........He asks: "Is the caring for the environment a matter of being a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal or a conservative, a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddist or a non believer?"............ "Can preserving biodiversity be something that all of us can work toward together?" "May we forget for a while our metaphysical, religous and secular differences, lower the volume on the culture war, and meet on this common ground of saving the creation - that is saving biodiversity which is in such peril worldwide?".............."if we continue to the end of the century on our curent path of land alteration and degradation, it is likely that we will have exterminated about half of the known species of plants and animals".................. "Why let tis happen when the value of the services that ecosystems give us are unmeasurably positive"............. "The assemblages of natural living plants, animals, and microorganisms provide us with purification of water, the management of water reserves, pollination, the renewal of the soil, the purification of the air we breathe and half of our medicines and pharmaceuticals".............."Those services amount roughly to the total of the gross world product - that is all the combined national products of every Country in the world-- in the vicinity of $30 trillion!!!"...................And we get all of those ecosytems services scot-free!!!"................ "So that ought to be reason enough for not disposing of that biodiversity and trying to substitute at high expense the human contrivances that probably don't do it as well"............"Humanity must make a decision and make it now, right now!"............. "Conserve earth's natural heritage or let future generations adjust to a biologically impoverished world"..............."Large parts of nature are still intact — the Amazon region, the Congo Basin, New Guinea".......... "There are also patches of the industrialized world where nature could be restored and strung together to create corridors for wildlife"............."In the oceans, we need to let life there recover."............"The oceans are part of that 50% HALF EARTH that I propose be kept in their natural state"............... "This proposal does not mean moving anybody out of their homes"..........."It means creating something equivalent to the U.N.’s World Heritage sites that could be regarded as the priceless assets of humanity".................... "I offer this maxim: Do no further harm to the rest of life"------Edward O. Wilson, professor emeritus at Harvard University and recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, the author of 30+ books on our natural world and humanity

Belize creates one of Central America’s largest biological Corridors

Shrey Dasgupta, March 19. 2018

  • On Feb. 13, the government of Belize approved the 110-square-kilometer Belize northeastern biological corridor.
  • The corridor aims to provide safe passage for wild animals like jaguars, pumas and Baird’s tapir to move freely between the Shipstern Nature Reserve and Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve in northern Belize.
  • Private landowners have agreed to place their corridor-designated lands into a trust in perpetuity, with the lands to be managed as part of the protected area system for conservation purposes.

Belize is set to establish one of the biggest biological corridors in Central America,

connecting two nature reserves that are home to
jaguars and pumas, among other wildlife.
The Belize northeastern biological corridor, approved by the government on Feb. 13, will span some 110 square kilometers (42 square miles) of forest, according to a press release from the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI), a conservation NGO in Belize. It aims to provide safe passage for species such as jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor) and Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) to move freely between the coastal dry forests of the Shipstern Nature Reserve and the tropical forests of the Freshwater Creek Forest Reserve.
“This corridor is highly important,” Heron Moreno, executive director of the CSFI, told Mongabay. “It will not only guarantee the long term survival of wildlife within the area but it will also contribute to the strengthening of the Belize Protected Areas System. Most importantly, it will serve to highlight the importance of Government, NGO and private partnership in conservation initiatives. This hereby paves the way and serves as a model for other similar initiatives to follow in Belize.”

A jaguar captured by a camera trap in Shipstern Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy of the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative.

The push for corridors in Belize began about two decades ago through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project, a Global Environment Facility-funded effort to interlink patches of forests from Mexico through Central America to Colombia. Belize’s northeastern biological corridor was one of the potentially important links that the project highlighted.
In 2015, the CSFI, together with other conservation NGOs, the government and private landowners reinitiated this dormant project, according to Caspar Bijleveld, secretary of the board of the CSFI and project coordinator for the group’s international partner, the International Tropical Conservation Fund (ITCF).
To decide the route of the corridor, the NGOs and the government used the general layout that the Mesoamerican corridor project had already proposed. “The route was originally one of the possibilities designated as such by the GEF project, back when the whole north-eastern part of Belize was forested,” Bijleveld said.

Two pumas caught on camera trap in Shipstern Nature Reserve. Photo courtesy of Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative.

However, expanding agricultural lands and other infrastructure development drove rampant deforestation around this route. So the teams cross-referenced the original proposed corridor with the actual forest cover on the ground to determine the final route of the corridor.
The next step was to convince the private landowners to give up their land for the corridor. That was challenging, Moreno said, because “the concept of corridors is still very vague and not quite proven to function as such.”
“To be able to engage the partners, it had to be tackled more from [an] economic and regulatory perspective,” he said, adding that the process did not involve any financial transactions.

A Baird’s tapir in the Shipstern Nature Reserve in Belize. Photo courtesy of Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative

Balam Jungle Estates, which owns the largest land parcel in the corridor, was convinced by tax incentives offered by the government. The Rheinländer Mennonite community, which owns another land parcel with the corridor, was convinced by a regulatory clause. “When they purchased the land, the Department of the Environment had imposed a clause of non-deforestation on the parcel that was recognized as a potential part of the corridor,” Bijleveld said.

Ocelot  in Belize forest

Both landowners have agreed to place their corridor-designated land into a trust in perpetuity. The land, which will continue to be owned by the private landowners, will be managed as part of the protected area system for conservation purposes. “This protected area can then de facto only be managed as such, according to rules defined by the Trust itself,” Bijleveld said. “The rules themselves will be based on national legislation on protected areas.”
For its part, the government will halt the collection of taxes on those lands for the duration of the trust arrangement, Moreno said.

Coyote in Belize woodland

The private landowners have yet to officially put their land into trust. “This is still much in process. Trust agreements have already been drafted but official signatures are still pending,” Moreno said.

Gray Fox in Belize woods

In addition, the government still needs to acquire some 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) of land within the corridor, at an estimated cost of about $1 million.
“ITCF is engaging with international NGOs active in the acquisition of lands for corridors and other critical habitats, asking them for their help,” Bijleveld said. “Although at this stage I am not in a position to cite names, things are looking promising.
“Personally, I have always been a firm believer that conservation success is a matter of long, if not very long-term involvement in a project,” he added. “That success sometimes comes through waiting for the right window of opportunity and having (lots of) patience. I have been involved in forest conservation in Belize for 30 years, and [it’s] successes like these that will keep me going for another 30.”

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