Ya’axché Sets Its Eyes On New Geographical Focus- The Maya Golden Landscape (MGL)


Since its inception in 1998, Ya’axché has continuously grown in its remit and scope from the management of its private protected area, the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, to the comanagement of the Bladen Nature Reserve and subsequently the adoption of its Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) approach which focuses on the effective management of the whole landscapes, not just protected areas.

Initially this landscpe approach was based upon the Golden Stream Watershed. However, it was noted that this misdirected the focus of most stakeholders towards thinking solely about management, which is included in, but only a small component of ILM. Moreover, the Watershed’s boundaries did not fully encompass the focal area of Ya’axché’s work, and thereafter the term ‘Golden Stream Landscape’ was coined to demonstrate a larger area and the approach. However, Ya’axché noted that when using this, stakeholders tended to envisage a very limited area, close to the Golden Stream River or village and thereafter a new term was needed and thus, the ‘Maya Golden Landscape’ or MGL was born.


Selection of Boundaries

The boundaries of the MGL are based on the focus of Ya’axché’s work. For example, although marine issues play a minor role in Ya’axché’s work, a small coastal portion of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve has been included within the southern part of the MGL in order to reflect the interrelatedness of terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. At the northernmost edge, the Maya Mountain Divide forms a natural border providing topographical, protected area and District boundaries. On the east, the margins are set according to ecosystem, generally avoiding the inclusion of savannahs which are generally not a priority within Ya’axché’s work. However, this has been extended to include a loop of the Bladen River branch of the Monkey River due to the influence that the river has on the Bladen Nature Reserve. The south-western boundaries of the MGL have been set to include many parcels of private lands forming the primary southern biological corridor for Belize, including those owned by Belize Lodge & Excursions, TIDE and John Spang. In the north-west, the MGL has included key biodiversity areas.


The Maya Golden Landscape

The Maya Golden Landscape (MGL)

What does this mean?

 The MGL forms the operational focal area of Ya’axché’s Integrated Landscape Management. Ya’axché aims to accomplish its goals of sustainable development in partnership with local land managers, including the Government of Belize, private landowners, communities and organizations.

It is important to note that this does not mean that Ya’axché is:

1.) trying to buy or take over community, private or any other land within the MGL   

2.) trying to control any person, community or organization within the MGL

3.) mandated to manage the area

4.) will not conduct activities outside of this area if it needs to.


How does this relate to other conceptual geographical areas?

The Maya Golden Landscape overlaps with parts of a number of other conceptual geographical areas.

* Maya Mountain Massif (MMM): As identified within the National Protected areas Policy and System Pln, the MMM is one of the three most important blocks of protected areas within reserves and the Bladen Nature Reserve. Although the MMM’s geographical scope is larger than the MGL, ILM within the MGL provides a larger thematic scope, covering the entire gamet of sustainable development of the area.

* Maya Mountain Marine Corridor (MMMC): Consisting of the Rio Grande, Middle, Golden Stream, Deep River, Punta Ycacos and Monkey River watersheds. the MMMC is an important concept coined by the Belize Center for Environmental Studies. This area now forms the focus of TIDE’s work, particularly as it relates to effective watershed mangement and the management of their three main programmes: Ya’axché works in close partnership with TIDE and is interested in ensuring the effective Conservation of the area’s biodiversity through the MMMC Conservation Action Strategy. Similarly, as with the MMM, efforts to manage the geographically larger MMMC are almost exclusively based on the conservation of biodiversity, as opposed to the thematically more diverse MGL’s ILM. An important point to note as well is that, although the MMMC contains almost all of the MGL, the north-western corner of the latter contaiing a very important biodiversity area lies outside of the MMMC.

* Golden Stream Watershed (GSW): This area is limited to the modelled hydrological boundaries of the Golden Stream Watershed, which are contained entirely within the MGL. As discussed in the rationale section, this concentrated stakeholder opinion on watershed management, rather than (integrated) landscape management.

* Golden Stream Landscape (GSL): See rationale for a discussion for why the GSL was changed to MGL.


1 Comment »

  1. Matt said

    Great information – thanks!

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