Empowering Local Conservation Management Practice Through Capacity-Building and Institutional Strengthening in the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, Belize - Year II

Project location: BELIZE, Golden Stream
Project start date: June 2002 - Project end date: June 2003
Project number: 2003-37
Beneficiary: Fauna & Flora International


Major Activities and Achievements

Mayan Community Rangers

Supported by the Nando Peretti Foundation funding, YCT rangers continued to clear and re-define the boundary and trails in GSCP that were smothered by Hurricane Iris, thereby making the patrolling and monitoring of the reserve much easier. Patrolling was further aided by the purchase of a small outboard motor to enable rangers to patrol further downstream.

YCT rangers and FFI biodiversity specialists initiated a field research project to ascertain the impacts of salvage logging in the Colombia Forest Reserve, adjacent to GSCP, which will be used to advocate for more sustainable forest management practices and policies from the Government of Belize. This fits with the YCT rangers' expanded role in field monitoring beyond GSCP, taking an active role in managing Belize's most significant terrestrial protected area, the Bladen Nature Reserve (BNR). This area links to the Golden Stream watershed and YCT rangers are taking part in joint patrols into the area, and have assisted in building a ranger outpost, whilst FFI's Belize Programme Manager is Secretary and principal fundraiser for the BNR board.

Additionally, funding was used to improve YCT management to support the rangers by covering the running costs of the YCT field centre at GSCP and the YCT office in Punta Gorda. An Office Manger was also employed from the local Mayan communities, to analyse and publicise the field work for community, donor and partner use as well as handling project finances and administration. This improved YCT professionalism exponentially, and is a major step towards YCT becoming self-sufficient. FFI/YCT also appointed a Community Outreach & Liaison Officer to work along side the rangers, managing an expanded community education programme focused on children. This was complemented by a small-scale Community Education Scholarship Programme to co-finance scholarships for 12 village children, enabling them to attend high school.

Photo by Marco Vernaschi

Project Equipment

YCT purchased a Toyota 16-seater mini van from the Nando Peretti Foundation grant, allowing YCT to transport staff and project participants from the local communities on several field trips and study visits to community non-timber forest product projects in the Peten, Guatemala, as well as cacao farms and organic vegetable gardens elsewhere in Belize. This meant that YCT was able to learn from examples of best practice in these areas for future use in GSCP. The vehicle was also used for educational outreach activities at district level, and FFI/YCT chartered the vehicle to local partner NGOs on several occasions, which paid for the vehicle's running costs. FFI/YCT also purchased additional computer equipment which was fundamental in increasing the effectiveness of project activities.

Advocacy and Representation of Project

Community workshop on sustainable forest management held at the YCT field centre.
In 2003, YCT took on a more strategic approach to advocacy - particularly focused on sustainable forest management. This was done through the afore-mentioned impact survey. Involvement in this kind of natural resource management is one way in which YCT could become self-sufficient in the longer-term, whilst ensuring that community needs are met, and that negative impacts on the forest are minimised. YCT/FFI also participated in Government of Belize led processes to reform Belize's Protected Area legislation, and establish a clearing-house mechanism to meet obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


In 2003 FFI raised funds for a critical, emergency land-purchase to the south of GSCP, extending the conservation corridor towards the coast, whilst lining-up donors for a potential second purchase to complete the Maya mountain to reef corridor in 2004. The Nando Peretti Foundation funding enabled FFI UK and Belize staff to work on the complex legal purchase process, which saved the Flick parcel (5,416 acres) - some of the best forest in the entire Golden Stream watershed - from burning and conversion to citrus. This has increased the GSCP protected area by 50% to 14,970 acres.

Funds from other sources, leveraged by the Nando Peretti Foundation investment, allowed YCT to equip the field centre with satellite internet, and solar panel systems, as well as base and handheld radios which have improved communications and YCT's ability to operate at many levels from field patrols to community outreach.

FFI/YCT also continued to develop funding proposals, for PROARCA, the Donner Foundation, UNDP Small Grants Programme, DFID's Global Conflict Prevention Pool, and to line up additional proposals to the Oak Foundation and DFID's Civil Society Strengthening Fund.

Photo by Marco Vernaschi

Technical Support

Technical support provided by FFI to YCT included specific training of the Office Manager in financial management, training for the YCT Programme Manager in project development and management, strengthening of the YCT Board and initial drafting of a YCT strategic plan. It also included the provision of technical experts to work with YCT on the establishment of a tree nursery in the GSCP (now stocked with several thousand trees for riverine forest rehabilitation), and further expertise focused on the establishment of a terrestrial biodiversity monitoring system through the Golden Stream watershed, to include new GSCP properties and, potentially, 11,000 acres of land held by a local partner NGO, TIDE.

Travel - Local and International

Belize-based staff continued to participate in key meetings and activities at the national level, travelling between Punta Gorda and GSCP offices. On an international level, YCT attended the MesoAmerican Biological Corridor watershed conference in Panama and participated at an international conference on Indigenous Community Mapping. FFI were also able to conduct site-visits and attend YCT board meetings. Such interactions are crucial to building the institutional capacity of YCT.

The Nando Peretti Foundation's support has enabled FFI and YCT, working in partnership, to make a real difference on-the-ground over the last two years. The projects have achieved real success in building confidence on the ground, both within YCT and local communities, that both groups can have a real role in managing their own natural resources in a sustainable manner.

think global, act local
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