History of the Belize Forest Department

The Forest DepartmentForestry is the foundation of our Nation's History. The first settlers to visit this land were wood cutters and the economy was built on wood cutting. In 1774, the largest recorded mahogany tree was felled measuring 3.65 meters (11.96 ft.) in diameter. In 1886, a visit was carried out to inspect the forests and timber trade  and resulted in a report,
Hooper Report,  that recommended the forming of a forest department. A second visit with the same objectives was conducted in 1921 when the mahogany was approaching exhaustion; this report, Hummell Report 1922,  again reiterated the formation of a forest department. A Forest trust was initiated in 1923, and later replaced by a Forest Department in 1935. The 1922 Hummell Report found few regeneration of Mahogany and stand improvement operations began treating mahogany seedlings by cutting away vines and girdling undesirable trees. Seedling operations involved in 1929 treating 100,000 seedlings by 1942 a million seedlings had been treated. The scope of management has changed through the years from exploitation and administration to biodiversity management and social and community forestry.


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