Bladen Nature Reserve

Bladen Nature Reserve is a landscape of caves, sinkholes, pristine streams and rivers, undisturbed old growth rainforest and an abundance of highly diverse flora and fauna which includes a great deal of rare and endemic species.

Widely described as the crown jewel of Belize’s protected areas, Bladen is considered to be one of the most biodiversity-rich, and geographically unique areas within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. At 99,796 acres (40,386 ha) Bladen forms a significant portion of the Key Biodiversity Area of the Maya Mountains Massif which was identified as one of the most important blocks of protected areas within Belize and more broadly, Mesoamerica, itself a region considered a world ‘hotspot for species diversity and considered critical for the preservation of the biodiversity of the Western Hemisphere.

Bladen Nature Reserve is one of three category one preservation zones of Belize. This is one of the oldest block of forests in Belize and encompasses nearly 100,000 acres of non-extractive greenery. The Reserve provides global environmental benefits by providing clean air, functioning as a carbon sink, rainfall generation, and preserving genetic diversity.

On a more local scale Bladen functions as a sanctuary for birds and mammals which are subject to hunting for bush meat, with this large contiguous block of undisturbed rainforest these game species are able to increase population size thus creating a ‘spillover effect’ onto community lands where they may be hunted as a source of protein by indigenous Mayan communities which buffer Bladen and who have traditionally lived off the products of these forests.

Bladen Nature Reserve’s role in watershed protection within the area is also important, with the river system providing water for local communities and large agricultural areas on the coastal plain.



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