hese logs are historic,” says Elma Kay, standing in Belize Maya Forest, where she has been doing an inventory of felled trees. “These are the last logs that were cut here, for mahogany and other hardwoods, left behind by the previous logging company.” Trees will no longer be cut down in this 950 sq km (236,000-acre) area, after the land was bought by a coalition of conservation organisations to save one of the world’s last pristine rainforests from deforestation. “The forest will now be protected in perpetuity,” says Kay. The news is timed to coincide with Earth Day, the annual event established in 1970 to mobilise action on environmental issues. The newly named Belize Maya Forest is part of 150,000 sq km (38m acres) of tropical forest across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala known as the Selva Maya, a biodiversity hotspot and home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species. “The minute you start driving through the forest, it’s teeming with biodiversity,” says Kay, one of the directors of the locally run Belize Maya Forest Trust. “I can’t tell you how many ocellated turkeys we saw […]

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