The Belize Forest Department advises anyone intending to trim or cut mangroves in or around their property must apply for a special permit. To apply for the permit known as ‘Mangrove Alteration,’ a form like the one below must be completed and submitted by email to [email protected] or dropped off at the offices of the Forest Department in the Capital City of Belmopan, located on Forest Drive. Property owners on the Cayes (Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye) are encouraged to fill out the application before doing anything with mangroves. Failure to do so can result in penalties (fines) by the environmental authorities. The department commends stakeholders who, instead of clearing their land, manicure these important trees on their property. However, they must apply to do so. When the application is approved, guidance is given on how to trim the identified mangroves appropriately.

It has been reported that while some people in the Cayes have followed the proper procedure, others do not. A recent case in the Boca del Rio beach area suggests improper altering of beachfront mangroves. According to concerned islanders, these mangroves were not trimmed but instead cut. According to them, most mangroves along the shoreline are considered ancient, and efforts have been made to conserve them. A way to preserve them is by properly trimming these trees vital to the coastline and juvenile fish.

The public is reminded that cutting mangroves in Belize is illegal, as these plants are essential to healthy marine ecosystems. They provide a haven for fish reproduction, prevent erosion, and protect coastal areas against storm surges. Thus, permission must be obtained from the Forest Department. Other activities, such as clearing mangroves for filling or developing properties, permits must be issued from the Department of Environment.

Get application here: Mangrove Alteration Application Draft 2022

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