Home Asia Europe North America Polar Regions South America Africa Australia
English
Italian
Korean
Chinese (Simplified)
Chinese (Traditionnal
Portuguese
German
French
Spanish
Japanese
Arabic
Russian
Greek
Dutch
Bulgarian
Czech
Croat
Danish
Finnish
Hindi
Polish
Romanian
Swedish
Norwegian
Catalan
Filipino
Hebrew
Indonesian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenia
Ukrainian
Vietnamese
Albanian
Estonian
Galician
Maltese
Thai
Turkish
Hungarian

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Ancient Wonders of the World
7 Medieval Wonders of the World
7 Modern Wonders of the World
New 7 Wonders of the World
Taj Mahal
7 Natural Wonders of the World
7 Underwater Wonders of the World
7 Industrial Wonders of the World

 

 

 

Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef platform lies on the Atlantic-Caribbean coast of Belize, and extends 260 kilometers (km) from the border with Mexico to the north, to near the Guatemalan border to the south.
Belize, Central America
7 Wonders of the Underwater World
The Belize Barrier Reef coral reef that is second in size to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and the largest of its kind in the Northern and Western hemispheres. Extending for more than 180 miles (290 km) along the Caribbean coast of Belize, it maintains an offshore distance ranging from about 1,000 feet (300 m) in the north to 25 miles (40 km) in the south, except at Rocky Point, where it meets the shoreline.[3]
A sting ray in shallow waters off Belize[1]

 

The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (1,000 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers (186 mi) long section of the 900 kilometers (560 mi) long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún on the northeast tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya up to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. It is Belize's top tourist destination, attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors, and vital to its fishing industry.

Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842.

Species
The Belize Barrier Reef is home to a large diversity of plants and animals, one of the most diverse ecosystems of the world:

70 hard coral species
36 soft coral species
500 species of fish
hundreds of invertebrate species
With 90% of the reef still needing to be researched, it is estimated that only 10% of all species have been discovered]


Environmental protection
A large portion of the reef is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which includes seven marine reserves, 450 cays, and three atolls. It totals 960 km² (370 miles²) in area, including:

Glover's Reef Marine Reserve
Great Blue Hole
Half Moon Caye Natural Monument
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Cays include: Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel, St. George's Caye, English Caye, Rendezvous Caye, Gladden Caye, Ranguana Caye, Long Caye, Maho Caye, Blackbird Caye, Three Coner Caye.
Because of its exceptional natural beauty, significant on-going ecological and biological processes, and it contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity (criteria VII, IX, and X), the Reserve System has been designated as a World Heritage Site since 1996.

Despite these protective measures, the reef is under threat from oceanic pollution, uncontrolled tourism, shipping, and fishing. Hurricanes, global warming, and the resulting increase in ocean temperatures are a particularly significant threat, causing coral bleaching. It is claimed by scientists that over 40% of Belize's coral reef has been damaged since 1998.


The Belize barrier reef has been affected by two massed bleaching. The first mass bleaching occurred in 1995, with an estimated partial mortality of 10 percent of coral colonies, according to a report by the Coastal Zone Management Institute in Belize. In 1997 and 1998, a second mass-bleaching event occurred, coinciding with devastation wrecked by hurricane Mitch. Biologists observed a 48 percent reduction in live coral cover in the Belize reef system.

Usually it is hard to decide whether the reason for coral bleaching is human activities, natural reasons eg. Storms or climate change. But in the case of the Belize barrier reef most of these factors don’t apply. Human population in this area is much less than in other coral reefs so the human pollution and fishing is much less compared to other coral reefs and the Belize is in a much more enclosed area.

When corals do become bleached, they become half dead not alive but not dead in the process of repairing themselves. But the chances of recovery is low, when corals are bleached they become much more vulnerable to disease. Disease often kills more corals than the bleaching themselves. Continuous bleaching and the coral reef will have no chance of recovery.[2]

 

We recently spent a week scuba diving in Belize off Turneffe Island. We spent one of those days on Lighthouse reef where we dove the famous Blue Hole and had a great safety stop with 7 sharks. We continued onto Half Moon Caye with great reefs and a couple conch!

 

visitinternational
March 11, 2008

The World Wonders .Com-visit 1,000 world wonders at www.theworldwonders.com

 

 
 
African
American
Asian
European
Oceanian
Others
 
   
 
   
28 finalists-7 winners will be announced in 2011

 

 
References
 
1. Flickr-Belize Barrier Reef-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/20/2009
2. Wikipedia-Belize Barrier Reef-retrieved 7/20/2009 
 3. Belize Barrier Reef. (2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
 
 Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

 

  Link to this site---Terms of Service---Privacy policy---Contact Us

free web stats