Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve

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Chapter 4. ECOLOGICAL CRITERIA

(Guidelines and Criteria Section B/ Ecological Criteria) Nominated areas must conform to at least one of the eight ecological criteria. Describe how the nominated site satisfies one or more of the following criteria. (Attach in Annex any relevant supporting documents.)

Critical habitats:


Red mangrove, littoral forest and herbaceous beach communities play a critical role in stabilizing island structure, reducing coastal erosion, beach loss and sedimentation. Among the most underrepresented ecosystems within the protected area system of Belize, their loss is accelerating as the developmental value and demand for beach frontage escalates. This ecosystem is critical for nesting sea turtles, for the Island leaftoed gecko, a species with extremely disjointed distributions, and for numerous migratory bird species.

Connectivity/coherence:


Clearance on the cayes of the Atoll greatly reduces connectivity within an already seriously fragmented ecosystem, reducing the scope for gene-flow and recolonization after natural and anthropogenic impacts. It also greatly undermines the stability of the islands themselves, making them, and any infrastructure thereon, a great deal more susceptible to the impacts of hurricanes. The long-term sustainability of cayebased tourism and residential developments can be made significantly more financially viable through the maintenance of this ecosystem.