The Maya Forest in Belize is one of the world's last remaining pristine rainforests -- but if things had gone another way, that statement wouldn't be possible. Decades ago, the simple intent to protect the rainforest resulted in more than a dozen organizations -- across government, community leadership, and businesses -- to come together to protect 236,000 acres -- an "irreplaceable linchpin in the conservation of the largest remaining tropical forests in the Americas outside the Amazon," the Nature Conservancy reports. The area accounts for 9% of Belize's landmass and is a vital wildlife corridor in Central America's dwindling forests. “In a warmer, more crowded world, the last best places to protect nature for biodiversity and climate solutions are mission critical,” said Dr. Jeffrey Parrish, global managing director for nature protection at the Nature Conservancy. “Innovative and collaborative protection of nature is essential not only for the survival of species like jaguars, but also for sustainable livelihoods, clean air, water security and for addressing the climate crisis.”

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