Programme for Belize (PfB) was established in 1988 with the mission to Conserve the Biodiversity and Promote the Sustainable Development of Belize through the proper management of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area (RBCMA). Therefore, PfB’s flagship project is the RBCMA
The major achievement by Programme for Belize since 1988 has been the establishment of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA) beginning in 1989 as a private reserve to conserve forested land and other natural ecosystems in north-western Belize threatened with deforestation and fragmentation. The total area under protection in 2016 is 254,000 acres.
Programme for Belize’s Ecotourism Operations and Activities is recognized locally and internationally and has:
Received the British Airways “Tourism for Tomorrow’ Award in 1997 for our innovative approach to Ecotourism.
Programme for Belize (PfB) was established in 1988 as a local NGO. Under the terms of a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Belize, PfB was authorized to own and manage the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area (RBCMA or Rio Bravo), which was established in 1989 beginning with the acquisition of 110,000 acres in northwestern Belize. The area has been built up through a succession of private land purchases and gifts with the most recent acquisition in 1997. The legal area of the Rio Bravo, as cited on the land titles, is 254,000 acres (102,790 ha). The management regime of the RBCMA is based on ecosystem protection and sustainable use of forest resources, therefore corresponding to an IUCN category VI protected area.
The land is private, held under freehold title by Programme for Belize in trust for the people of Belize. Trust status indicates that the land cannot be alienated from conservation purposes. This is backed by the terms of a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Belize, signed on 22.2.88 with amendments in 1991 and 1998. The PfB also holds the Vachel Keene land parcel in Mountain Pine Ridge as a freehold property with no trust agreement.
Nestled deep in the sub-tropical forest of north-western Belize and renowned for being the largest private reserve and second largest single protected area in the country, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA) is located only two and a half hours away from Belize City. However, before it became a haven for wildlife of all forms, in Pre-Classic times the lands now known as the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area was home to Belize’s first inhabitants, the Maya. With the mysterious demise of the great Maya civilization around 1000 A.D., and the colonization of what we now call Belize, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area was plundered for logwood and then mahogany for trade with Europe. In the 1980s when Belize’s focus shifted to agro-industry, the RBCMA lands took on a higher agricultural value. Fortunately, there was also a resurgence of attention on the value of the environment at the same time. It was with this commitment to the environment that in 1988, the non-profit organization Programme for Belize (PFB) gained access to 90,000 acres of land in the Orange Walk District. This donation from Coca Cola Inc marked the start of PfB’s flagship project, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. Since then, the conservation site has increased to a total of 260,000 acres representing approximately 4% of Belize’s total land area. In terms of natural vegetation communities.