Yalbac Ranch and Cattle Corporation Limited (YRCC) is the legal owner of the Yalbac, a farm located in Orange Walk District of Belize. YRCC is a property of the Yalbac Ranch and Cattle Texas Corporation, which is located in Texas, US.
Legally, Yalbac Ranch is divided into 3 parcels, which make up just one block of land, all of them registered on behalf of YRCC. The total area of all three parcels is 131,117 acres (of which 80.7% is classified as productive forest).
Yalbac Ranch was once part of the Belize Estate Company (BEC) and was logged for exporting its timber. The land was redistributed by the government in 1947 as part of the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
The management objectives for Yalbac are:
|County||Cayo, Orange Walk districts|
|Coordinates||N 17° 28′ 9″ W 88° 57′ 17″
|Dominant Forest Type||Tropical Hardwoods|
|Managing Consultant||Internal Staffing Yalbac|
|Address||Box 700 Spanish Lookout , BZ –|
The YRCC property is located within the southwest corner of the Orange Walk district, just North of Belmopan, the capital city of Belize. The area experiences a sub-tropical moist climate with marked wet and dry seasons.
The YRCC was originally owned by the Belize Estate Company. They had a long history of logging in the area and began their logging operation at the turn of the last century focusing mainly on a few select species, Mahogany, Cedar and Santa Maria. They divested of the property in 1984 to Belize Timbers Limited (BTL). In 1994, The Yalbac Ranch and Cattle Corporation purchased the property, and they partnered with The Forestland Group in 2008.
Based on acquisition inventory data, YRCC has a total of 153 merchantable forest species. Approximately 80.7% of the area is classified as productive forest.
However, two thousand eleven (2011) was among the most dynamic years in the recent history of the Yalbac Ranch (“the Ranch”) in western Belize. Toward the end of 2010, the eye wall of a severe hurricane passed over Yalbac, disturbing approximately 60% of the property’s forest structure at variable intensities. An estimated 46 MMBF of sawtimber was lost in this event.
On April 9th, just as salvage logging was gaining momentum, a wildfire was detected on the Yalbac property. It is believed that the fire originated outside the property most likely from a runaway milpa (slash and burn cultivation) fire. Because of topography and prevailing wind conditions, the fire crossed the principal road that provides access from Yalbac’s South Gate to the eastern entrance to the property before any effective fire suppression efforts could be applied. Under “normal” weather and fuel conditions this road would have functioned as an effective fire line. However, a secondary effect of the hurricane’s removal of the forest canopy was the desiccation of the abundance of dead biomass both standing and down. The high fuel loads plus extreme dry season conditions – a lack of precipitation and relatively low ambient humidity levels typical of Belize’s dry season – converged to create a robust environment for fire, an atypical disturbance in this forest. Fire has not been recorded in any available historical archives nor is there anecdotal evidence of a fire history except perhaps on the extreme eastern portion of the property where a relatively small fire occurred sometime before 1985 in the area presently occupied by the citrus groves (The original vegetation was a low forested thicket, a transition zone from the adjacent pine savanna.)
The significant changes in forest structure over an 8 month span requires a new quantification of timber volume and value and commensurate changes in management planning. Consequently, planning for a new forest inventory commenced 2Q11.