Belize Forest (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations 2018: An Overview



Document Type


Publication Date



Mangroves exist in a unique environment between land and sea, and for this reason, they provide great benefits to both people and nature, including protecting shorelines, dampening storm surge, preventing or slowing erosion, sequestering carbon, and providing habitat and nursery grounds for many species. In so doing, they provide good climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience benefits.

Mangroves, however, are continually threatened owed to increasing demand for coastal development. They are haphazardly cleared to the waterline and filled in to make way for homes and tourism developments. In so doing, we risk losing the vital goods and services mangroves provide.

Recognizing this problem, the Belize Government undertook a review and updating of its mangrove regulations. The new mangrove regulations went through an arduous process of consultation and validation to place greater emphasis on the management and conservation of mangroves in critical areas along the mainland coast and cayes. The role mangroves play in coastal protection, contribution to our economy, and their aesthetic, ecological and environmental values and functions have been factored within the decision-making process for alteration requests. The Regulations set out the enabling conditions to protect and sustainably manage mangrove ecosystems in country; providing an improved application process for alteration permits, institute a new systematic fee system, and strengthens penalties and fines to deter illegal mangrove alteration.

This summary document aims to inform developers and the Belizean public at large about the key stipulations within Belize’s revised national Mangrove Regulations that became law in June 2018. It is NOT meant to replace the official Forests (Protection of Mangroves) Regulations, 2018 but to be used for information purposes only. The official regulations, which can be accessed from the Forest Department within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, should be consulted.

Was this content written or created while at USF?