Essay on Saving the Belize Barrier Reef

1531 Words Sep 5th, 2010 7 Pages
Off the Caribbean coast of Belize, between Mexico and Guatemala, lies the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest reef in the northern and western hemispheres. The reef is home to many species of coral reefs, coastal lagoons, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests. It provides a habitat for a large number of fish species and many endangered animals. With global warming issues, local activities, and mass tourism threatening the very existence of the reef, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO ) has made the Belize Barrier Reef part of the World Heritage list, which preserves and protects the cultural and natural heritage around the world.
Diversity of Life Forms The Belize Barrier Reef is habitat to a
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Mangrove forests have been eliminated to make way for urban development and oil drilling has threatened the quality of the reef. Human invasion, in addition to natural disasters and climate changes, are contributing factors to the degradation of the Belize Barrier Reef.
Protections to Safeguard and Preserve the Area The government of Belize realized the seriousness of the situation and created the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU). A plan was approved that would help assist in the conservation of coastal resources. This plan included the monitoring and planning of new techniques, the implementation of research, and finally, public awareness.
In 2004, a petition was filed by Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) to request the World Heritage Site to list the Belize barrier reef on the endangered list. A press release from Candy Gonzalez states, “Putting the BBRS on the “In Danger” list is a positive step for the reef. It is something that can bring international focus as well as funding to management efforts. Once Belize has taken steps to better protect the World Heritage Site, it can be removed from the “In Danger” list” (Gonzalez, 2009, p 1).
Efforts made to Further Preservation Candy Gonzalez was very influential in making sure that every possible effort was made to further the preservation of the Belize barrier reef. In her press release from June 24, 2009, she calls on the government to implement the following recommendations:
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