The forest industry was the basis of Belize's economy from the beginning of the settlement but it no longer has the importance it used to have. Hundreds of years of logging has reduced the inventory of fine hardwoods throughout Belize.
Floating logs down the Belize River
Over half of Belize is covered by forest. However, most of Belize has been logged and northern Belize protects and manages some of the remaining productive forests.
Portable sawmill, Northern Belize
Numerous research projects studying forest ecology and silviculture are managed at the Rio Bravo Research Station with an eye to making the harvesting of hardwoods a sustainable business.
Much of the lumber cut is used in the local markets and include mahogany, cedar, santa maria, yemeri and soft pine. The Mennonite community logs their own trees for construction and to make their furniture.
Recently there has been a renewed interest in chicle harvesting. Researchers are experimenting at the Rio Bravo Research Station with the feasibility of revitalizing this industry.
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