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Rosewood leaves. © Maximiliano Caal

Rosewood leaves. © Maximiliano Caal

Protecting rosewood from illegal logging in Belize


Fauna & Flora works with longstanding partner, Ya’axché Conservation Trust (Ya’axché) to sustainably manage key timber species in Belize’s Maya Golden Landscape.

Rosewood is the world’s most heavily trafficked wild product. At its peak, the value of illegally traded rosewood was estimated at US$2.25 billion, higher than elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts combined.

Project goals

We aim to develop and implement sustainable management of key timber species in the reserve, based on the species’ ecology and accurate population data, and to promote this to the Belizean government as a model for the management of timber species in other forest landscapes in Belize.

Our work in the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve

We work with Ya’axché to ensure that priority areas for threatened trees within the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve are regularly monitored and protected from the threat of illegal logging. Building capacity in tree identification, survey techniques and tree propagation has enabled Ya’axché’s community ranger team to conduct comprehensive surveys of eight target species. These surveys are helping Ya’axché identify special management zones for threatened trees and the most suitable sites within the reserve for reinforcement planting. Since 2021, more than 580 threatened tree seedlings have been planted in degraded areas adjacent to established populations. We also work with the Belize Forestry Department to ensure the sustainable management of key species and enable communities to support rosewood conservation.


This project is delivered in partnership with Ya’axché Conservation Trust.


We are grateful for financial support from Fondation Franklinia.

key milestones

    Rosewood seed © Ya'axché Conservation Trust

    Rosewood seed © Ya'axché Conservation Trust


    Ya’axché collects viable seed and germinates seedlings from the critically endangered Honduran rosewood, Dalbergia stevensonii. There is no logging of Honduran rosewood within Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve for the seventh year running.

    Setting camera traps in Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve, Belize. © Maximiliano Caal

    © Maximiliano Caal


    Ya’axché becomes co-manager of the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve.


    Honduran rosewood listed on CITIES Appendix II, which limits trade in a species if deemed to be detrimental to its survival in the wild.

    Rosewood tree © Maximiliano Caal

    Rosewood tree © Maximiliano Caal


    National moratorium on rosewood extraction declared in Belize.

Learn more about the Maya Golden Landscape, in southern Belize, which forms one of Central America’s last unbroken stretches of broadleaf forest. The area hosts one of the world’s richest assemblages of biodiversity including the harpy eagle, Baird’s tapir, jaguar, howler monkey and scarlet macaw.