Living off the forest

Living off the forest

Living in the Selva Maya usually means cutting down the trees to make way for farming. At least it did — until now. A voluntary conservation project shows that you can live off the rainforest without destroying it.

Forest-saving honey

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Living off the forest

Project goal: Certification of voluntarily protected areas in Calakmul, Mexico, for the protection and sustainable use of the Selva Maya, a tropical forest region.

Project area: The Selva Maya extends across parts of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, but shrinks by about 30,000 hectares (74,131 acres) a year due to illegal logging, clearing and climate change.

Project period: 2015 to 2019

The Selva Maya extends across parts of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. The huge tropical forest has been under threat for years from climate change, illegal logging and clearing for farming.

But with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), ever more voluntary protected areas are being established. Nuevo Becal is one of them.

The community there now tries to use its 51,000 hectares of land sustainably. Instead of clearing forest to farm and raise livestock, they protect it and make a living by selling honey, nuts and other forest products.

A film by Alexa Meyer