Belmopan, Belize

University of Belize
Belmopan, Belize

The University of Belize is an English-speaking multi-locational institute for higher education, and the national university of the Central American country of Belize. The institution offers certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor begrees, and a graduate degree. The university's goals are to meet national needs, encourage sustainable development, increase self sustainability, prepare Belize to meet global challenges and to encourage an international student population. UB's Central Campus is found in Belmopan City where student enrollment is constantly increasing. Currently the Central Campus is the site of a clean solar energy project which will help make the university self sustainable and off the grid.The university's colors are purple and gold; its mascot is the "Black Jaguar" and its motto is "Education Empowers a Nation". Wikipedia.

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Harmsen B.J.,Panthera | Harmsen B.J.,University of Belize | Harmsen B.J.,University of Southampton | Foster R.J.,Panthera | And 4 more authors.
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2011

Activity patterns of top predators are adapted for efficient predation, whereas their prey must contend with the conflicting demands of acquiring resources and avoiding predators. Here we analyse the activity of jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) in relation to their most important prey species, armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) and pacas (Agouti paca) respectively, in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize using large-scale camera-trap data. Jaguars and pumas have similar 24. h activity patterns as armadillos and pacas, both burrow-dwelling species, and negligible overlap with less frequently consumed prey species such as red brocket deer (Mazama americana) and peccaries. Activity of armadillos and pacas varied with moon phase, with reduced activity during periods of brighter illumination, perhaps as a predator-avoidance strategy. Across the study area, moon phase had no overall influence on jaguar and puma activity; however at locations associated with armadillos, jaguar activity declined with brighter illumination, perhaps indicating a shift to alternative prey during full moon when armadillos avoided foraging above ground. No such relationship was found for pumas and moon phase at locations associated with pacas. © 2010 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Foster R.J.,Panthera | Foster R.J.,University of Southampton | Foster R.J.,University of Belize | Harmsen B.J.,Panthera | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2012

Densities of elusive terrestrial mammals are commonly estimated from camera-trap data. Typically, this is a 2-step process involving 1) fitting conventional closed population capture-recapture models to estimate abundance, and 2) using ad hoc methods to determine the effective trapping area. The methodology needs to be accurate, robust, and reliable when results are used to guide wildlife management. We critically review 47 published studies and discuss the problems associated with contemporary population estimates of elusive species from camera-trap data. In particular we discuss 1) individual identification, 2) sample size and capture probability, 3) camera location and spacing, 4) the size of the study area, and 5) ad hoc density estimation from the calculation of an effective trapping area. We also discuss the recently developed spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models as an alternative approach that does not require the intermediate step of estimating an effective trapping area. We recommend 1) greater transparency in study design and quality of the data, 2) greater rigor when reviewing manuscripts, and 3) that more attention is given to the survey design to ensure data are of sufficient quality for analysis. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

Watkins A.,University of Southampton | Noble J.,University of Southampton | Foster R.J.,Panthera | Harmsen B.J.,University of Belize | Doncaster C.P.,University of Southampton
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2015

Agent-based models can predict system-level properties of populations from stochastic simulation of fine-scale movements. One important application to conservation lies in their ability to consider the impact of individual variation in movement and decision-making on populations under future landscape changes. Here, we present a spatially explicit agent-based simulation of a population of jaguars (. Panthera onca) in a mixed forest and farmland landscape in Central America that demonstrates an application of least-cost modelling, a description of the way that agents move through their environment, to equilibrium population dynamics. We detail the construction and application of the model, and the processes of calibration, sensitivity analysis and validation with empirical field data. Simulated jaguars underwent feeding, reproduction, and mortality events typical of natural populations, resulting in realistic population dynamics and home range sizes. Jaguar agents located inside protected forest reserves exhibited higher fitness (fecundity, energy reserves, age and age of mortality) as well as lower energy- and habitat-related mortality than jaguar agents located outside these reserves. Changes in fecundity directly affected the dynamics of simulated populations to a larger degree than either mortality or agent-agent interactions. Model validation showed similar patterns to camera traps in the field, in terms of landscape utilisation and the spatial distribution of individuals. The model showed less sensitivity to socially motivated and fine-scale movements, apart from those directed towards feeding and reproduction, but reflected the interactions and movement of naturally occurring populations in this region. Applications of the model will include testing impacts on population dynamics of likely future changes in landscape structure and connectivity. © 2014.

Borchers D.,University of St. Andrews | Distiller G.,University of Cape Town | Foster R.,Panthera | Foster R.,University of Belize | And 3 more authors.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Many capture-recapture surveys of wildlife populations operate in continuous time, but detections are typically aggregated into occasions for analysis, even when exact detection times are available. This discards information and introduces subjectivity, in the form of decisions about occasion definition. We develop a spatiotemporal Poisson process model for spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) surveys that operate continuously and record exact detection times. We show that, except in some special cases (including the case in which detection probability does not change within occasion), temporally aggregated data do not provide sufficient statistics for density and related parameters, and that when detection probability is constant over time, our continuous-time (CT) model is equivalent to an existing model based on detection frequencies. We use the model to estimate jaguar density from a camera-trap survey and conduct a simulation study to investigate the properties of a CT estimator and discrete-occasion estimators with various levels of temporal aggregation. This includes investigation of the effect on the estimators of spatiotemporal correlation induced by animal movement. The CT estimator is found to be unbiased and more precise than discrete-occasion estimators based on binary capture data (rather than detection frequencies) when there is no spatiotemporal correlation. It is also found to be only slightly biased when there is correlation induced by animal movement, and to be more robust to inadequate detector spacing, while discrete-occasion estimators with binary data can be sensitive to occasion length, particularly in the presence of inadequate detector spacing. Our model includes as a special case a discrete-occasion estimator based on detection frequencies, and at the same time lays a foundation for the development of more sophisticated CT models and estimators. It allows modelling within-occasion changes in detectability, readily accommodates variation in detector effort, removes subjectivity associated with user-defined occasions and fully utilizes CT data. We identify a need for developing CT methods that incorporate spatiotemporal dependence in detections and see potential for CT models being combined with telemetry-based animal movement models to provide a richer inference framework. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Chicas S.D.,Nagasaki University | Chicas S.D.,University of Belize | Omine K.,Nagasaki University | Ford J.B.,Wildlife Institute
Applied Geography | Year: 2016

Erosion in the Rio Grande watershed of Belize, Central America results in widespread ecological impacts and significant economic costs. In this study, quantitative soil loss analysis and qualitative social surveys were integrated to identify erosion vulnerable areas or hotspots, and to analyze varying perspectives between communities near and far from erosion hotspots regarding the causes of erosion. The results of the quantitative analysis suggest that erosion hotspots are located in the upper-mid reaches of the watershed near the communities of Crique Jute, Naluum Ca, San Pedro Columbia and San Miguel. The Mann-Whitney U test identified significant difference in the ranking of erosion drivers (cattle ranching, logging, and clearing of slopes) between communities. Communities far from erosion hotspots (FEH) ranked cattle ranching and logging higher than communities near erosion hotspots as the main drivers of soil erosion (NEH and FEH, mean = 79.02, 105.92, (U) = 3055, p < 0.001 and mean = 84.9, 100.90, (U) = 3560.5 p < 0.05) respectively. On the other hand, communities near erosion hotspots (NEH) ranked clearing and planting on slopes higher than communities far from erosion hotspots as the main driver of soil erosion (NEH and FEH, mean = 107.03, 81.86, (U) = 3136.5, p < 0.001). The logistic regression model depicted that ethnicity, distance, gender, and employment were significant in explaining the data variability on the perceived implementation of erosion prevention techniques in the watershed (2LL = 208.585, X2 = 49, df = 8, p < .001). This research provides significant information on the drivers, underlying causes and erosion vulnerable areas that will aid stakeholders to garner community support, develop and implement sustainable soil management practices. Moreover, the study highlights the need to implement cost-effective soil erosion prevention programs and to assess the loss of soil nutrients and agriculture productivity in the study site. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kaeser A.S.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Willcox A.S.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Panti N.C.,University of Belize
ORYX | Year: 2016

Many global efforts to decrease deforestation have focused on community-based conservation programmes to reach their goals. However, many such programmes are lacking a potentially helpful population, women. We employed key-informant interviews to examine attitudes towards, and barriers to, women's participation in a community-based conservation programme prior to implementation. We conducted 47 semi-structured interviews in January 2015 in communities adjacent to the Vaca Forest Reserve in the Cayo District of Belize. Results indicated that the benefits of involving women in community-based conservation activities included them learning more about the forest and conservation, transferring this knowledge to their family and community, and helping the environment. Some possible barriers to participation included lack of time and motivation to participate. However, there were notable differences between men's and women's responses relating to women's available time and their willingness to participate, with men not mentioning time as a barrier and stating that women would need more motivation to participate. The results will be used to work with local women to collaboratively develop and implement a community-based conservation programme around the Vaca Forest Reserve. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2016

Ju R.-S.,National Yunlin University of Science and Technology | Ju R.-S.,University of Belize | Lee H.-J.,National Yunlin University of Science and Technology | Chen C.-C.,National Taiwan University of Science and Technology | Tao C.-C.,Architecture and Building Research Institute
Journal of Constructional Steel Research | Year: 2012

In a multistory building frame, stiff reinforced concrete (RC) infill walls may be terminated above the first story for architectural purposes, which may create a soft-first-story structure. To eliminate this detrimental situation, this paper proposes to separate the RC infill wall from the steel moment frame by slits. An experimental program of four one-bay-by-one-story steel moment frame specimens along with pushover analyses of multistory frame models were presented to validate the proposed idea. This study conducted cyclic loading tests on a total of four moment-resisting-frame specimens, which included one bare frame; one with ordinary RC infill wall; and two with side slits between RC wall and frame members. Furthermore, pushover analyses of multistory frame models with soft first story configurations were also conducted to illustrate the effect of RC infill walls with or without slit separation. Both experimental and analytical results showed that the stiff RC infill wall dominated the lateral resistance and drift capacity of the test specimens, and that by adding slit-separated features at the edges of infill walls improved the drift capacity. It is concluded that the slit-separated features can be a viable option to eliminate the soft-story problem caused by vertically irregular configuration of RC infill walls. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Harmsen B.J.,Belize Jaguar Program | Harmsen B.J.,University of Southampton | Harmsen B.J.,University of Belize | Foster R.J.,Belize Jaguar Program | And 2 more authors.
Population Ecology | Year: 2011

Closed population capture-recapture analysis of camera-trap data has become the conventional method for estimating the abundance of individually recognisable cryptic species living at low densities, such as large felids. Often these estimates are the only information available to guide wildlife managers and conservation policy. Capture probability of the target species using camera traps is commonly heterogeneous and low. Published studies often report overall capture probabilities as low as 0.03 and fail to report on the level of heterogeneity in capture probability. We used simulations to study the effects of low and heterogeneous capture probability on the reliability of abundance estimates using the Mh jack-knife estimator within a closed-population capture-recapture framework. High heterogeneity in capture probability was associated with under- and over-estimates of true abundance. The use of biased abundance estimates could have serious conservation management consequences. We recommend that studies present capture frequencies of all sampled individuals so that policy makers can assess the reliability of the abundance estimates. © 2010 The Society of Population Ecology and Springer.

Chen W.T.,National Yunlin University of Science and Technology | Chang P.-Y.,National Yunlin University of Science and Technology | Chou K.,National Yunlin University of Science and Technology | Mortis L.E.,University of Belize
Expert Systems with Applications | Year: 2010

A framework for a decision-support system for adjudicating construction industry occupational accidents is developed using case-based reasoning (CBR) with a nearest-neighbor retrieval (NNR) search mechanism. One hundred thirty-three guilty verdicts of trial court judgments resulting from fatal construction occupational accidents (COAs) with injuries/deaths are collected, and 26 attributes, including 17 problem attributes (PAs) and nine solution attributes (SAs), are identified to describe the causalities between the accidents' characteristics and the adjudgment results. Interpretive structural modeling (ISM) is used to build a three-layer hierarchy structure and to classify the 17 PAs into four aspect subsets (adjudgment background, accident condition, working environment and defendant). Each aspect and PA is weighted by using the AHP (analytic hierarchical process). Filter rules (FRs) for construction accidents and adaptation rules (ARs) to adjust for differences in accidents are formulated. The proposed system framework provides a platform for engineering professionals to understand the jurisprudence of occupational injuries/deaths in the construction industry and also serves as a reference to attorneys and justices. Additionally, the decision-support system may also educate the public in liability issues involved in COAs. An operational system is now under development based on the proposed system framework. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Chicas S.D.,Nagasaki University | Omine K.,Nagasaki University | Saqui P.,University of Belize
Applied Geography | Year: 2016

In Belize, the lack of forest degradation and socioeconomic data results in the inability of forest management organizations to make timely assessments and decisions for sustainable forest resource management. This study uses CLASlite algorithms and social surveys to identify drivers, measure, analyze and map deforestation, and forest degradation that occurred in Toledo's ecosystems and Protected Areas as a result of the increased anthropogenic activity reported in 2010–2012. The social surveys indicated that land and institutional policy, distance to markets and lack of alternative livelihoods are the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. Of importance are the strong significant differences that exist between communities that were less than 2 km from a protected area (CL2K) and communities that were more than 2 km from a protected area (CM2K) regarding property rights (Cramer's V = 0.562, p < 0.001), selective logging (Cramer's V = 0.499, p < 0.001) and soil quality (Cramer's V = 0.434, p < 0.001). The results of the deforestation and forest degradation analysis indicate that in 2009–2011 and 2011–2012 the annual rates of deforestation were 0.75% (2480 ha) and 1.17% (3834 ha) respectively and the annual rates of forest degradation in 2009–2011 and 2011–2012 were 0.09% (307 ha) and 0.33% (1110 ha) respectively. In 2009–2011 only 9.34% of forest loss occurred inside protected areas in comparison to 2011–2012 where 23.97% of forest loss occurred inside protected areas. In 2011–2012 out of the 1110 ha of degradation 30.38% occurred in Lowland broad-leaved wet forest and 19.39% occurred in Sub-montane broad-leaved wet forest. The maps and statistics generated in this study pinpoint in which ecosystem types and protected areas major forest change and forest disturbance occurred. By utilizing the data generated by this study, Belize's forest management organizations will be able to efficiently allocate resources to forested areas that are being threatened; thus, more effectively mitigate deforestation and forest degradation of important forest ecosystems. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

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