Deforestation in Belize has accelerated since late 2010, reports a new satellite-based assessment of the tiny Central American country’s forest cover by CATHALAC (the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean).
The analysis used NASA Landsat-7 imagery to compare forest cover between early 2010 and early 2012. It concludes that Belize’s forest cover fell from 62.7 percent to 61.6 percent during the period, a decline of 25,264 hectares.
The annual loss of 12,632 ha is more than a quarter higher than the rate observed between 1980 and 2010, when deforestation averaged around 10,000 ha per year.
A technical report detailing the analysis will be released soon according to CATHALAC. A 2010 study by the group found that most deforestation between 1980 and 2010 occurred outside protected areas, where land is being converted for agriculture and plantations.