Ensuring natural resource use in the MGL is compliant with the laws of Belize


Developing an effective compliance management program goes beyond enforcement and addresses the root causes of unlawful behavior. This approach considers current levels of user knowledge of laws. It also includes strategic planning, practical legislation, capacity development, international cooperation and the use of technology.


Whilst Ya’axché has been steadily building compliance in the Maya Golden Landscape over 20 years, 2015 saw the beginning of our new strategic approach. A five year compliance plan was created in 2016. It guides community outreach and education, capacity development, adaptation of new technology (such as SMART) and partnerships with national and international compliance managers. Compliance links directly to the activities of our research program which inform our approach and measure impacts.

Golden Stream Corridor Preserve (GSCP)

Critical remaining link in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor

Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR)

100,000 acre “Crown Jewel “of Belize’s National Protected Areas System.

Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve (MMNFR)

36,000 acre site of Belize’s first community agroforestry concession.


Ya’axché has long understood the need to share results of our progress towards our goals. Our key stakeholders are the buffer communities, compliance management partners and government, and we are committed to feeding back both our successes and lessons learned. Key to this is the use of the SMART tool to produce clear, accurate and immediate reports.

Tablets with SMART software installed have allowed rangers to improve data on illegal activities. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

Across the Maya Golden Landscape, we collect data on compliance in an effort to ensure better forest management and maintenance of vital ecosystem services. Such data gathered directly benefits the management of the Bladen Nature Reserve, Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve and the legally recognized private protected area, Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. However, Ya’axché influences compliance beyond these three areas of natural wonder.