The Belize Barrier Reef, the longest in the
Western Hemisphere, shelters most of the windward coast
of Belize. About two-thirds of the mainland coast is protected
by coral reefs, as well as the windward coast of
most cayes. The degree of protection provided by a reef
varies with reef type, depth, and distance from shore, as
well as with coastal context—the elevation and slope of
the shore, the geologic origin of the area, and the wave
energy along the coast.
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