Hydrological and Oceanographic Considerations for Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Southern Belize

Heyman, W. and Kjerfve, B. (1999) Hydrological and Oceanographic Considerations for Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Southern Belize. Technical Report.

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    Abstract

    The objectives of this study are to: (1) characterize the meteorology and hydrology of the Maya Mountain– Marine Area Transect in southern Belize, (2) employ a simple water balance model to examine the discharge rates of seven watersheds to Port Honduras, (3) test the validity of the hydrological model, (4) explore the implications of potential landscape and hydrological alterations, and (5) examine the value of protected areas. The southern coastal portion of the study area is classified as wet tropical forest and the remainder as moist tropical forest. Rainfall is 3000–4000 mm annually. Resulting annual freshwater discharge directly into Port Honduras is calculated at 2.5 3 109 m3, a volume equal to the basin. During the rainy season, June–September, 84% of the annual discharge occurs, which causes the bay to become brackish. Port Honduras serves as an important nursery ground for many species of commercially important fish and shellfish. The removal of forest cover in the uplands, as a result of agriculture, aquaculture, and village development, is likely to significantly accelerate erosion. Increased erosion would reduce soil fertility in the uplands and negatively affect mangrove, seagrass, and coral reef productivity in the receiving coastal embayment. Alternatively, the conservation of an existing protected areas corridor, linking the Maya Mountains to the Caribbean Sea, is likely to enhance regional sustainable economic development. This study aims to support environmental management at the scale of the ‘‘ecoscape’’—a sensible ecological unit of linked watersheds and coastal and marine environments.

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
    Related URLs:
      Publisher: The Nature Conservancy
      Keywords: hydrological, oceanographic, coastal zone management, southern Belize
      Subjects: (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3D) Other or Unspecified
      Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2011 16:08
      Last Modified: 23 Feb 2011 16:08
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1288

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