How Important is Water to Belize’s Ecosystem

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Dr. Ed Boles

Water is a precious resource in Belize. Pro Organic Belize hosted Aquatic Ecologist Dr. Ed Boles on Saturday to review the importance of water in the ecosystem. Pro Organic Belize utilizes Belize’s aquatic resources to grow organic produce without the use of pesticides.
In his over an hour-long presentation, Dr. Ed Boles spoke about the hydrological cycle as being an essential determinant of climate and making crops grow. Boles also said that forests capture rainfall and that evaporation allows that water to get back into the atmosphere.
“We have lost 25% of our forest over the last 32 years,” he said.
Boles also spoke about wetlands and their ability to absorb and store floodwaters. “We are losing wetlands rapidly,” he said.
He also spoke about aquatic plants and their ability to provide food and shelter for fish and wildlife. Aquatic plants also pump oxygen into sediments and at the same time reduce riverbed and riverbank erosion.
As a renowned expert on our hydrosphere, Dr. Boles briefly spoke about the New River.
“What happened and is happening in the New River is happening all around us,” he said.
There is a phytoplankton bloom in the New River as a variety of nutrients are getting into the New River. Boles claims that many people use our forests and rivers as garbage dump sites. Livestock is also gaining access to the river edge.
According to Dr. Ed Boles, more farmers are looking towards irrigation to deal with the uncertainties of weather patterns. The water resources of next-generation farmers are being lost. He warned that we are also losing our streams, rivers and wetlands to urbanization.
To address these concerns, Dr. Ed Boles says that we should communicate them to everyone. We should have educational outreach and we should plant trees wherever needed.
But there is hope, even though the environmental future seems uncertain. Dr. Ed Boles posits that International Carbon investors are now looking for carbon investment opportunities. They are interested in buying large properties of significant ecological value and that are under threat. It is assumed that a portion of the investment profits is returned to Belize to support the management of the carbon investment, providing training and creating jobs for local people. Belize is now equipped with a cadre of highly trained professionals to deal with such matters.