Photos from the Río Sarstún watershed, by Marco Cerezo, General Director of FUNDAECO. (Click the images to see larger versions.)

When Fundación Para El Ecodescarrollo y La Conservación (FUNDAECO) needed urgent assistance with the purchase of 657 hectares of land in the Caribbean region of Guatemala in October last year, they approached the World Land Trust (WLT).

The land FUNDAECO are working to save is situated just south of the Belizean border within the Río Sarstún watershed, an area that encompasses a unique system of critical habitats including lagoons, mangroves, lowland and tropical rainforests and karstic forest all between sea level and 385m. This “lowland and inundated tropical rainforest” type is under serious threat throughout the Caribbean region because it is all too often destroyed and replaced with extensive cattle ranches and agricultural crops.

Many important species occur in this region of the Rio Sarstún watershed including the Mexican Black Howler Monkey, Baird’s Tapir, Jaguar and even the West Indian Manatee which uses the river and lagoons abutting the land. In saving this 657 hectare property WLT and FUNDAECO will be safeguarding the breeding and feeding grounds for hundred of species of migratory birds as well as all the reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants that survive in the area.

WLT are in the process of providing critical funding for a down payment on this irreplaceable parcel of land to ensure its protection in the future. More information will be available on this website in due course.