Illegal logging continues

From ‘Nicaragua News’ 3 May 2011, produced by the Nicaragua Network.

Illegal timber extraction continued in 2010 to outpace the cooperative efforts of the army, police and environmental authorities to control it under the Natural Resources Protection Plan. Concentrating their efforts on the Bosawas Nature Preserve and Ometepe Island, the joint enforcement effort undertook 16,589 actions that resulted in the seizure of 511,121 board feet of illegally harvested timber, 9,911 logs, and 20 transport vehicles. All were turned over to civilian authorities for criminal prosecution of the responsible parties. To increase enforcement, the Army has created a 500 member Ecological Battalion that will deploy to 76 nature preserves across the country in the second half of this year.

Environmental scientist Kamilo Lara called the actions “significant” but said the results “don’t reflect the magnitude of the environmental destruction drama.” He said, “The data demonstrates that there is a strong movement of wood traffickers and predators that take advantage of the lack of controls to remove the forests for economic gain.” Presidential environmental advisor and father of Nicaragua’s environmental movement Jaime Incer Barquero stated that Nicaragua has lost 50% of its forests in the past 50 years and that has resulted in the drying up of 60% of the principal rivers of the country. He called the environmental future of the country “exceptionally frightening.”

El Nuevo Diario, May 2, 2011