And a big part of Belize – Guatemala relations is the Chiqubul forest. There are dozens of small and impoverished Guatemalan communities in the south-eastern Peten which are pushing up against the verdant and resource – rich Chiquibul. The job of keeping them out falls principally to the co-manager of the Chiquibul National Park – which is the Friends For Conservation and Development. They work with the BDF and Police to preserve the reserve – and this year with the help of government and the public, they’ve had measurable success. They reported this to the press in a press conference held in Belize City at the marine parade law chambers…

Raphael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD

"Whenever we talk about not losing a single blade of grass or not losing a single inch of land; in Chiquibl we see this thing on a daily basis and we really believe about maintaining our territory with all the inches of land then it basically means we do need a presence out there."

And in 2015, they got a big boost with public financing for additional park rangers – it made a difference:

Derrick Chan - Manager, Chiquibul National Park

"So prior to the telethon so we had only 7 rangers. We have hired now 18 rangers since the year started of 2015."

Raphael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD

"It doesn't come to a surprise to us that we need to maintain the boots on the ground. I think after all is said and done, we have been able to put in the rangers for one year. Of course like all managers in the field, then how do we sustain that effort?"

For that, they are looking to government:

Raphael Manzanero - Executive Director, FCD

“Last year we were extremely thankful that GOB was able to give us 120,000 dollars for hiring 5 rangers for one year. But that year is basically over now, so what we are requesting or recommending is will be really great if GOB would be able to provide us an annual support because that can really take us a long long ways."

They say the results justify the investment – look at scarlet macaws, xate and logging:

Boris Arevalo - Biologist, FCD

"So over the years we have seen that we are losing a lot of scarlet macaw chicks. In 2015, we only lost 2 chicks okay. Up to 2013 we saw an almost exponential increase in area then we start to see that the area impacted starts to become more stable. Since 2014 around May, that was the last record of illegal logging that we reported okay? What's interesting to note is the rate of illegal extraction, it has decreased from 16.3 million leaves to 10.8 million leaves. So we are seeing that particular activity is declining."

Derrick Chan - Manager, Chiquibul National Park

“That there has been a reduction in all of the activities throughout the two year period."

And while these red lines show the density of patrols – another important factor is the reaction of the state to the murder of special constable Danny Conorquie:

Derrick Chan - Manager, Chiquibul National Park

"We haven't really recorded any illegal logging in the Chiquibul for this year. We particularly saw like completely seized after the Conoquie tragedy."

"Since the untimely death of Danny Conirquie, it really did have a sort of pronounce presence on the ground. The development of the Caracol conservation post, the creation of Velanetin, the more rangers on the ground certainly is one of those key elements."

"You will understand that a result of that, Velanetin conservation post was installed and that was one of the key entrance gates for Guatemalans coming into the territory; so that has done a considerable effort in terms of sustaining now, stopping the incursions from that area. Caracol today is one of the most secure areas anywhere else in the country of Belize."

But, the pressures in and around Chiquibul persist because across the border to the west, there’s no green anymore:

Boris Arevalo - Biologist, FCD

"So in a transect, let's say or a belt of 10 kilometres away from the border which is in yellow, we have a total of 24 Guatemalan communities. They have a population of around 30 thousand people. So we see that on the Guatemalan side most of the faded green is actually the forested area. So basically they don't have forest, only little patches. Then we have this huge contiguous forest in the Belize side."

And right now, they are pushing into new areas of Chiquibul:

Boris Arevalo - Biologist, FCD

At the present moment this area has been showing the greatest deforestation rate; this particular area here."

Reporter

"What's that area called?"

Boris Arevalo - Biologist, FCD

"This is Cebada."

The FCD says that the funding for their new rangers runs out in a few months’ time.

Channel 7