Belize lost 10,000 ha of forest per year since 1980. In this year, forests covered 79.5% of the land surface of Belize but as of February 2010 it had decreased to 62.7%. The area covered by forests in the country thus went from about 6500 square miles 30 years ago to around 5300 square miles today, losing an area the size of Rhode Island.
A study by NASA and CATHALAC (Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America & the Caribbean) used satellite imagery at different points in time since 1980 to visualize changes in the amount of land covered by forests.
While revealing the entity of deforestation in the country, the study also shows that forests inside protected areas have not suffered much from deforestation in the past 30 years, whilst a quarter of forests outside protected areas were cleared in that period. The findings also estimates Belize s current stock of forest carbon, allowing the Government of Belize to fulfill one of its requirements for the REDD initiative (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).