Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Belize is located in the northern part of Central America and forests dominate its landscape. In 1996, seven sites on the Barrier Reef were designated as World Heritage Sites under the World Heritage Convention. The centerpiece of biodiversity conservation in Belize is the Natural Protected Areas System, which consists of more than 60 declared state and private reserves in both terrestrial and coastal/marine environment. The protected area network is dominated by the bloc of statutory reserves occupying the Maya Mountain/Mountain Pine Ridge massif. The Maya Mountain bloc constitutes the second largest in northern Central America and probably the most biologically diverse in the Maya lowlands. The country is estimated to have roughly 4000 species of native flowering plants. 163 species of terrestrial mammals (among which more than 80 are species of bats), 121 species of reptiles, 117 species of freshwater fish, and 42 species of amphibians have been reported. In addition, 571 bird species have been identified, among which 81 are listed as of special conservation concern.