Scientific and technical objectives
- To complete the remote sensing interpretation of mangrove distribution along the barrier reef section of the Belizean coastline. To then transfer these data to a GIS allowing mapping of the data and to provide a database for management strategies.
- To establish transect lines to verify the vegetation distributions and to provide base maps for this project and for the ODA Tropical Forest Action Plan team.
- To identify, from remote sensing and field survey, the offshore and inland mangrove communities and their associated wetland savannas.
- To establish the ecological zones and to characterise the soil and sediment properties along these transect lines and relate them to the height above sea level.
- To examine the production of nitrous oxides at selected sites within Belize.
- To evaluate the impact of urban expansion on mangrove communities around Belize City.
- To assess alternative management strategies for the conservation and possible utilisation of mangroves. To then produce specific guidelines for the Ministry of Natural Resources in Belize.
The topographic, soil-sediment and vegetation data from this investigation, combined with an assessment of the development, use and conservation importance of mangroves in Belize, provide a much-needed first step in assessing options for the management of this wetland resource. Providing the results in map format allows members of the Forest Department to take the data out into the field.
The results of this project have been communicated to the appropriate Belizean authorities, namely the Forest Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Coastal Zone Management Unit, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The research has also linked in with the mangrove component of the ODA Forest Planning and Management Project to ensure maximum use of the data. One member of the team (Dr Simon Zisman) joined the FPMP staff for a year, employed as their Mangrove Specialist.