Aside from the clean air that we breathe, we are further researching and understanding how trees and plants impact our lives.

Plants provide much more than just oxygen to humans and many other living organisms. Wild animals and humans rely on plants for food, home, lumber and firewood; yet, there is an increase in the unsustainable use of trees year after year. To fully understand the importance of healthy forests it is important to investigate the natural processes that allow a plant to survive in a human dominated landscape.

Botanical monitoring - Maximiliano Caal

Rangers monitoring trees within Bladen Nature Reserve. | Photo: Maximiliano Caal

Along with partners, Ya’axché has embarked on a mission to build local capacity for research and monitoring of tree species in Belize. Of particular interest are the species that have been part of the Belizean culture and economy. In order to ensure the sustainable use of our tree or plant species there needs to be more information on their life cycles as well as how they are affected by human and natural events to prevent local extinction.

We have established permanent vegetation plots, tagged trees and are continuously taking detailed records, within Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, Bladen Nature Reserve and Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve. Additionally, our parabiologist rangers are trained to monitor these trees alongside expert botanists.

Spathelia belizensis - Steven Brewer

 A new tree species for Golden Stream Corridor Preserve and Belize, Spathelia belizensis. | Photo: Dr Steven Brewer.

Ya’axché uses the data collected from the monitoring to inform conservation actions to avoid the loss of key species. The local communities are an integral part of the monitoring. The organization offers training in plant identification and botanical field methods and fosters community discussion on issues that are affecting tree conservation in Belize.

Read more about our plant and tree monitoring research visit the Downloads webpage.