Belize’s elusive jaguars need help to move through the region’s fragmented forests
Around the world, outright deforestation grabs headlines, and was a key theme of COP26. But ecologists understand that, in addition to outright forest loss, there is another pernicious issue at work – that of forest fragmentation. In today’s world, what were once large, contiguous blocks of tropical forest – where species like jaguars and tapirs could freely disperse – have been converted into 50 million separate pieces.
Journey with us to the forested heart of Belize – a small, Central American nation, brimming with biodiversity and natural wealth. Belize is a nation heralded for its conservation successes. But now, the patterns of forest fragmentation are beginning to indenture. The way of the jaguar – an apex predator, requiring vast blocks of intact and connected forest habitat – is now caught in questions of geopolitics and national development. The long read this month is read by Sophie Pavelle.
In the second half of the podcast, host Jacob Dykes speaks with the decorated conservationist David MacDonald on the broader concepts of forest fragmentation and wildlife corridors.