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The Nature Reserves of Northern Belize represents an important part of the entire park and protected area system of Belize. A visitor to Northern Belize can experience all the major habitats of the tropics from the coral reefs and mangroves of Bacalar Chico to the lagoons and wetlands of Shipstern to some of the most pristine tropical forests at Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. These less visited conservation areas are every bit as rich and diverse as the more popular parks to the south, only less explored and developed.

RESERVES > Shipstern Wildlife Reserve

After Hurricane Janet in 1955 devastated much of the Sarteneja Peninsula, the area's vegetation quickly regenerated and once again turned the area back into one of Belize's richest and ecologically diverse tropical rain forests.

Shipstern Nature Reserve
The Shipstern Wildlife Reserve is located three miles south of the small fishing village of Sarteneja on the same peninsula that bears its name.

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RESERVES > Bacalar Chico

Compared with other reserves in Belize, the terrestrial and marine reserve of Bacalar Chico has only just begun a legacy of conservation. The park officially opened August 23, 1996, after village leaders in Sarteneja began lobbying for a reserve in an area accessible to them and a site visit by NYZS and ITCF in 1991 established the conservation value of the area.

Bacalar Chico
Bacalar Chico now comprises a 15,000-acre marine reserve and 12,000 acres of terrestrial reserve and has been named a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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RESERVES > Rio Bravo

Thanks to the foresight and management of the Programme for Belize, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, a 250,000-acre tract of subtropical broadleaf forest, has become a national example of sustained forestry development and conservation.

Toucan at Rio Bravo
The Programme for Belize is a private, non-profit, Belize-based organization dedicated to the preservation and management of Belize's natural resources, namely the Rio Bravo area.

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