Case study: Madenica

The weakness of the law, however, is illustrated by the case of the Madenica company. In 2009, around 700 trees were felled indiscriminately in the Cárdenas municipality close to Nicaragua’s southern frontier with Costa Rica by a company known as Madenica (Maderas Preciosas de Nicaragua). Madenica had been sowing a plantation of teak in the frontier zone since 2003 and therefore felled the species which were native to this area. According to a report by the Nicaraguan Forestry Authority, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Environmental Attorney, the Cárdenas municipality and the police, Madenica’s actions covered 41 hectares of land and nearly 700 trees, some of which were under prohibition. The report detailed the damaging effects of the clearance to the vegetative cover, the biomass, wildlife, soils and the integrity of the forest.[1]

For this crime, Madenica was fined a sum of US$10,000 and their forestry manager a further US$5,000. The timber companies are content to pay such paltry fines and continue with their illegal schemes.

[1] Lésber Quintero (June 2009) ‘Gigantesco despale en zona fronteriza’, Freshwater Action Network Central America (FANCA).