Discover Five Ecosystems in Belize
Being such a small country, you can experience five different ecosystems in Belize within a two hour drive. Read more about these wonders of nature below:
Tropical Rain Forest — Ecosystems in Belize
Much of Belize is still unexploited wilderness. More than half of the country consists of subtropical rainforest or jungle with over 75% under government protection. All this unspoiled wilderness has led to the growth of ecotourism, which is now the nation’s second largest source of revenue. The Belize rainforest is home to an incredible variety of wildlife including wildcats such as the elusive jaguar, ocelot and puma. Tapirs, crocodiles, howler monkeys and armadillos also live in this ecosystem. The jungle is also home to countless Mayan cities and caves, most of which are undiscovered.
Coral Reef — Ecosystems in Belize
The Belize barrier reef is home to a large diversity of plants and animals, it is estimated that only 10% of these species have been discovered. A World Heritage Site, the reef is a series of coral structures that span 300 kilometers in length. Astonishingly beautiful, this ecosystem is diverse and balanced. It is Belize’s top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. The reef is home to more than 500 species of fish, 36 soft coral species, 70 hard coral species and hundreds of invertebrates.
Savannah — Ecosystems in Belize
The savannas of Belize occupy about 10% of the country’s land area, providing distinctive landscapes of ecological value. This ecosystem is mostly present in the northern part of the country. Tropical savannahs are dominated by grasses, sedges, shrubs, trees and palms. It is an ecosystem also known as “pine ridge” as the pine trees are the most obvious large tree visible. The coarse soil is made up of hard quartz and shallow gravel. At first glance the savannah appears to have no wildlife roaming around, however, the most frequently seen mammal is the Belizean gray fox who feeds on small mammals and insects. At nights, armadillos roam the land and pumas are the dominant predator.
Rivers — Ecosystems in Belize
Belize has approximately 27 major rivers with tributaries that encompass 4 separate watersheds. These rivers carry crystal clear rainwater containing plant matter and energy from the rainforests to the mangroves and eventually to the sea. They are also the source of hundreds of beautiful waterfalls. Many rivers run through caves and offer spectacular cave tubing experiences. Other activities include kayaking, fishing and whitewater rafting.
Mangroves — Ecosystems in Belize
Growing in seawater, mangroves are unique trees that purify water from pollutants, prevent erosion and provide shelter to countless species of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. During hurricanes, mangroves dissipate wave energy. 34 percent of Belize’s coastline is mangroves which provide a beautiful backdrop for many activities, such as kayaking and fishing.
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