Habitat restoration through permaculture and agroforestry in southern Belize

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tropical avian diversity , permaculture , birds , Belize , Student Showcase of Excellence 2017
Bradley, Parker
Hill, Alexandra
Kirker, Lucas
Van Houten, Andrew
Lamy, Jared
Kenney, Jason
Kuzmitch, Logan
One of the major benefits of permaculture and agroforestry is the restoration of complex habitat while still providing calories for human consumption. The Maya Mountain Research Farm in Southern Belize consists of 32ha of former cattle pasture and citrus orchard now used for permaculture and agroforestry, hosting a diverse polyculture of dozens of fruit-bearing tree and shrub species and about half a dozen timber tree species, all interspersed with dynamic patches of banana and maize. Spread out along the farm's habitat mosaic, 17 point count stations were repeated three times, as well as 21 forest interior stations done once. Point counts were 10-minute unlimited radius recording all birds seen or heard. At each point count station, several vegetation characteristics were also recorded. In total, 94 bird species were detected on the farm (71 resident, 23 migrant), and 49 species were detected in the forest interior (41 resident, 8 migrant). Time prevented repeating forest interior counts, making the comparison less robust, but the higher percentage of migrants and overall diversity on the farm suggests it is valuable habitat. Overall, MMRF exemplifies how implementing permacultural practices can restore degraded land into complex habitat while also providing sustainable resources for human consumption.