Belize is a net sink for Carbon, says CEO Print E-mail
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Friday, 10 May 2019 00:00

Belize’s forests is a net sink for carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Belize has 60% forest cover and so it absorbs much more carbon dioxide than is emitted from the burning of firewood, bagasse and vehicle emissions. From the Carbon absorbed by the forests some of it goes to timber production.

Those are the conclusions of Dr. Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The occasions was at the ending of a REDD+ conference that had recently been held at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel, which created unique partnerships between conservation related Government and Non Government Organizations from across the Country.

“The REDD+ is a project that falls under our Ministry with responsibility of Forestry and Climate Change. It is a project that is intended to prepare Belize to partake in the international REDD+ scheme as articulated under the United Nations Conference on Climate change,” said Dr. Percival Cho.

At the meeting, REDD+ expert Eduardo Reyes had informed that the deforestation rate from 2001 to 2015 was 9000 hectares per year, with a small decrease from 2015 to 2018 of some 7000 hectares. Some of this forest loss was attributable to the expansion of the livestock frontier and to make way for sugar production.

There are now many industries developing in Belize, such as for corn, soy bean and sugar cane. But these economic activities need comparatively huge land areas to operate, which inevitably leads to a loss of forest cover and our carbon sink potential.

Dr. Cho believes that REDD+ is not to constrain those industries from growing. His position is that environmentalists might have a view on what the negative effects those industries have and the Department of the Environment is equipped to be able to mitigate and control for some of those negative effects.

“But in terms of land spaces, we need space for these industries,  they need to grow , but at the same time we need to find a balance between what we set as our goals for preserving the functions of all ecosystems that also benefit and how much we want to lose in terms of allowing for industry expansion…” he adds.