Belize Barrier Reef System
The Belize Barrier Reef System is located just off the coast lines of the country of Belize. The reef system is the largest in the northern hemisphere, and it is the second largest reef system in the world. The largest is the Great Barrier Reef found in Australia. The reef system in Belize consists of coral reefs that are 186 miles long and are 1,000 feet off shore to the north and 25 miles to the south of the country of Belize. “Charles Darwin described the Belize Barrier Reef as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842” (New World Encyclopedia, 2009, para. 1). This reef system is in danger because of human interactions and something must be done to preserve its wild life and natural beauty.
The Belize Barrier Reef is home to a large diversity of life forms and is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. According to UNESCO World Heritage Centre (1992-2013), the reef includes “over 500 species of fish, 65 scleritian corals, 45 hydroids and 350 molluscs in the area, plus a great diversity of sponges, marine worms and crustaceans” (Long Description). Also found in this reef system are West Indian Manatees, sea turtles, American crocodiles, and several bird species. These species live and co-habitat together, with each aiding in the production of the reef. The plant and animal life also rely of each other as a source of food, with the larger species eating the smaller ones, and so on.
There is also a large amounts of vegetation found in this area, both land and sea flora. In fact among the land flora there are 178 species of vascular plants, including 32 non-native species make up the vegetation found. These are broken down into three distinct areas. They are the Mangrove forest which is made up of three major types of mangrove trees; the Buttonwood, the Red mangrove and the White mangrove. Next, there is the Littoral forest, in which four types of trees can be found. These are the “Ziricote Cordia...