Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • J. Hicks (a1), Z. A. Goodwin (a1), S. G. M. Bridgewater (a1), D. J. Harris (a1) (a2) and P. A. Furley (a3)...


A vascular plant species list and description is provided for the San Pastor Savanna, an isolated area of savanna within the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Belize. Of the 126 species recorded, 28 are new records for the Chiquibul Forest Reserve with one previously unrecorded for the country. The maintenance of the current vegetation classification under the Belize Ecosystems Map for the San Pastor Savanna is supported. The coarse-textured soils are typical for extremely seasonal climates with some evidence of prolonged inundation during wet periods and dry seasons affected by burning. Although clear floristic affinities exist with other local and regional savanna areas, the San Pastor Savanna has some unique features and its flora includes national endemics. Although it is currently protected as part of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and this status should be maintained, its inaccessible location makes frequent monitoring by the Forest Department problematic. Through providing a source of water and a source of forage for horses, the San Pastor Savanna plays a pivotal role in supporting the illegal Chamaedorea (xaté) palm leaf harvesting industry. This activity has also adversely impacted local wildlife. Like the nearby Mountain Pine Ridge, the San Pastor Savanna has suffered intense pine beetle (Dendroctonus spp.) attack.



Hide All
Alho, C. J. R. & Souza Martins, E. (1995). Bit by bit the Cerrado loses space. Brasília, Brazil: WWF.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2003). An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 141(4): 399436.
Balick, M. J., Nee, M. N. & Atha, D. A. (2000). Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Belize. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 85. New York: The New York Botanical Garden Press.
Bateson, J. H. & Hall, I. H. S. (1977). The geology of the Maya Mountains. Overseas Memoir, Institute of Geological Science 3: 143.
Beard, J. S. (1953). The savanna vegetation of northern tropical America. Ecol. Monogr. 23(2): 149215.
Billings, R. F. & Schmidtke, P. J. (2002). Central American Southern Pine Beetle/Fire Management Assessment. Unpublished report. College Station, TX: USAID.
Bridgewater, S. G. M., Ibáñez, A., Ratter, J. A. & Furley, P. A. (2002). Vegetation classification and floristics of the savannas and associated wetlands of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, Belize. Edinburgh J. Bot. 59: 421442.
Bridgewater, S. G. M., Harris, D. J., Whitefoord, C., Monro, A. K., Penn, M. G., Sutton, D. A. et al. . (2006a). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of the Chiquibul Forest, Belize. Edinburgh J. Bot. 63: 269321.
Bridgewater, S. G. M., Pickles, P., Garwood, N. C., Penn, M. G., Bateman, R. M., Morgan, H. P. et al. . (2006b). Chamaedorea (Xaté) in the Greater Maya Mountains and the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, Belize: an economic assessment of a Non-Timber Forest Product. Econ. Bot. (New York) 60: 265283.
Conservation International (2004). Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Ecosystem Profile: Northern region of the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot. Report, Conservation International, Mexico and Central American Program.
Da Silveira Lobo Sternberg, L. (2001). Savanna–forest hysteresis in the tropics. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 10(4): 369378.
FAO (1988). FAO–UNESCO Soil Map of the World. Revised Legend. World Soil Resources Report 60. Rome: FAO.
Farjon, A. & Styles, B. T. (1997). Pinus (Pinaceae). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 75. New York: The New York Botanical Garden.
Farruggia, F. T., Stevens, M. H. H. & Vincent, M. A. (2008). A floristic description of a neotropical coastal savanna in Belize. Caribb. J. Sci. 44(1): 5369.
Furley, P. A. (1974a). Soil-slope–plant relationships in the Northern Maya Mountains, Belize. 1. The sequence over metamorphic sandstones and shales. J. Biogeogr. 1(3): 171186.
Furley, P. A. (1974b). Soil-slope–plant relationships in the Northern Maya Mountains, Belize. 2. The sequence over phyllites and granites. J. Biogeogr. 1(4): 263279.
Furley, P. A. (1976). Soil-slope–plant relationships in the Northern Maya Mountains, Belize. 3. Variations in the nature and distribution of soil properties. J. Biogeogr. 3(3): 303319.
Furley, P. A. (1999). Does biodiversity affect savanna functioning? A review of Solbrig, O. T., Medina, E. & Silva, J. F. (1996), ‘Biodiversity and Savanna Ecosystem Processes: A Global Perspective’. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 8(1): 7677.
Furley, P. A. & Ratter, J. A. (1986). Further observations of the nature of the savanna vegetation and soils in Belize. In: Munro, D. M. (ed.) Ecology and Environment in Belize: An account of the University of Edinburgh Expedition to Belize, pp. 935. Occasional Paper 12, Geography Department, University of Edinburgh.
Hutyra, L. R., Munger, J. W., Nobre, C. A., Saleska, S. R., Vieira, S. A. & Wofsy, S. C. (2005). Climatic variability and vegetation vulnerability in Amazonia. Geophys. Res. Lett. 32: L24712.
Iremonger, S. & Brokaw, N. (1995). Vegetation classification and mapping methodology as a basis for gap analysis of protected area coverage in Belize. In: Towards a National Protected Area Systems Plan for Belize. Programme for Belize & Inter-American Development Bank Synthesis Report.
IUCN (2009). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. on 12 January 2010).
Johnson, M. S. & Chaffey, D. R. (1973). A Forest Inventory of part of the Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize. Land Resource Study No. 13. Surbiton, England: Land Resource Division.
Kellman, M. (1979). Soil enrichment by neotropical savanna trees. J. Ecol. 67: 565577.
Kellman, M. (1985). Forest seedling establishment in neotropical savannas: transplant experiments with Xylopia frutescens and Calophyllum brasiliense. J. Biogeogr. 12(4): 373379.
Kellman, M. & Tackaberry, R. (1993). Distribution and tree species coexistence in tropical riparian forest fragments. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. Lett. 3: 19.
Laughlin, D. C. (2002). Flora of the Pine Savanna at Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize. Caribb. J. Sci. 38(1–2): 151155.
Lenthal, J., Bridgewater, S. & Furley, P. (1999). A phytogeographic analysis of the woody elements of New World savannas. Edinburgh J. Bot. 56: 293305.
Meerman, J. C. & Sabido, W. (2001). Central American Ecosystems: Belize, vols I and II. Belize City, Belize: Programme for Belize.
Midtgaard, F. & Thunes, K. H. (2003). Pine Bark Beetles in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, Belize: Description of the Species and Advice on Monitoring and Combating the Beetle Infestations. Isadalto, Norway: Norwegian Forestry Group, Inter-American Development Bank.
Mistry, J. (2000). World Savannas: Ecology and Human Use. London: Prentice Hall.
Mitchell, K. (2007). Quantitative Analysis by the Point-Centered Quarter Method. Geneva, NY: Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Munsell, A. H. (1994). Munsell Soil Color Charts. New York: Macbeth Division of Kollmorgan Instruments Corporation.
Nix, H. A. (1983). Climate of tropical savannas. In: Bourlière, F. (ed.) Ecosystems of the World: Tropical Savannas, vol. 13, pp. 3761. Amsterdam: Elsevier Scientific Publishing.
Penn, M. G., Sutton, D. A. & Monro, A. (2004). Vegetation of the Greater Maya Mountains, Belize. Syst. Biodivers. 2: 2144.
Pither, R. & Kellman, M. (2002). Tree species diversity in small, tropical riparian forest fragments in Belize, Central America. Biodivers. Conserv. 11: 16231636.
Ratter, J. A., Ribeiro, J. F. & Bridgewater, S. (1997). The Brazilian cerrado vegetation and threats to its biodiversity. Ann. Bot. 80(3): 223230.
Redford, K. H. (1992). The empty forest. BioScience 42: 412422.
Sarmiento, G. (1984). The Ecology of Neotropical Savannas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Standley, P. C. & Record, S. J. (1936). The Forests and Flora of British Honduras. Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 12: 1432.
Standley, P. C. & Steyermark, J. A. (1958). Pinaceae. In: Standley, P. C. & Steyermark, J. A. (eds) Flora of Guatemala – Part I, Fieldiana, Bot. 24(1): 3656.
Stevens, P. F. (2008). Angiosperm Phylogeny website. Version 7. (accessed November 2009).
Taylor, B. W. (1963). An outline of the vegetation of Nicaragua. J. Ecol. 51: 2754.
Thorpe, J. E. & Stoddart, D. R. (1962). Cambridge Expedition to British Honduras. Geogr. J. 128(2): 158171.
Van de Vijver, C. A. D. M., Foley, C. A. & Olff, H. (1999). Changes in the woody component of an East African savanna during 25 years. J. Trop. Ecol. 15: 545564.
Wright, A. C. S., Romney, D. H., Arbuckle, R. H. & Vial, V. E. (1959). Land in British Honduras. Colonial Research Publications 24. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.



  • J. Hicks (a1), Z. A. Goodwin (a1), S. G. M. Bridgewater (a1), D. J. Harris (a1) (a2) and P. A. Furley (a3)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed