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Government of Panama defends controversial wood logging in Darién jungle

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Government of Panama defends controversial wood logging in Darién jungle

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 19:01


The Ministry of Environment of Panama defended a controversial logging recently carried out in the Darién jungle, on the border with Colombia, and said it is part of sustainable management plans approved years ago.

The minister of the sector, Emilio Sempris, told the media on Friday there are a dozen forest plans in the country "with recognized harvesting cycles of between 20 and 25 years" and explained these are "technical, legal and operational instruments that establish the aims of the management of a certain area".

Sempris denied that the felled trees were endangered species, as reported by several local media this week, and said the ministry is operating a system of traceability and forestry control that will track the wood trajectory.

"If a tree lacks that chip, please file the complaint," the minister urged after a meeting with forestry activists.

The Ministry of the Environment, he added, has filed 41 criminal complaints for illicit activities in the forestry sector, including complaints against municipal authorities in the province of Darién, and is filing two additional complaints.

In Darién, an intricate jungle naturally bordering Colombia, there are tree species highly prized in Asia, the United States and Europe like balsam, national mahogany or cocobolo, whose deforestation has been banned for several years.

Since 1980, it is also the largest national park in Central America, with 579,000 hectares, declared a World Heritage Site in 1981 by Unesco and the Biosphere Reserve in 1982.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, 96 percent of the wood from the jungle province of Darién, the natural border between Panama and Colombia, is illegally logged and traded mainly in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which is helping the ministry to implement the new system, estimates that more than half of the wood traded in Panama is illegal, figures very similar to the rest of Central American countries.



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Logging continues during nationwide lockdown


Posted 05/04/2020

The nationwide mandatory quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped the widespread felling of trees and the movement of timber can the Emberá-Wounaan sector of Panama.

Clelia Mezúa, leader of the Embera-Wounaan Organized Women, denounced that trucks loaded with trunks continue to come out of the Canán area and that trees are still being cut down in the mountains, despite the complaint filed with the Public Ministry for anomalies in the concessions granted since 2002.

Mezúa said they do not know why the authorities of the Environment Ministry (MiAmbiente)  or the security forces have not stopped the activity of the loggers and truckers who continue to extract wood from the forests.

the Ministry says that the activity of transport and export of wood is among those excepted from quarantine.

The wood reaches a storage yard and from there to the loading area, from where the logs leave in containers to the ports. All the logs have a traceability chip to determine their origin which is , is verified by Mi Ambiente.



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