Belize, Land and Resources
Rio Azul, climate of Belize, Belize River, Victoria Peak, tapir
The northern half of Belize consists of lowlands, large areas of which are swampy. The southern half is dominated by mountain ranges, notably the Maya Mountains, which rise to a maximum elevation of 1,120 m (3,675 ft) atop Victoria Peak. The Caribbean coastline is fringed by coral barrier reefs and numerous cays (islets). The principal streams are the Belize River; the Rio Azul, which forms much of the boundary with Mexico; and the Sarstun River, which forms the southwestern boundary with Guatemala. The climate of Belize is subtropical, moderated by sea breezes along the coast. The average annual temperature is about 26° C (about 79° F). The total annual rainfall increases from north to south and averages about 1,800 mm (about 71 in). A rainy season extends from May to February.
Some 59 percent of Belize is covered by forests. Deciduous trees are found in the north; tropical hardwood trees predominate in the south. Principal species include the commercially important mahogany, cedar, and rosewood, as well as pine, oak, and palms. Mangrove swamp vegetation is found along the coast. Wildlife includes jaguar, deer, tapir, and numerous species of birds and reptiles.
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