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Jul 9, 2018

Xate on the Rebound inside the Chiquibul

The Friends for Conservation and Development says that xaté stocks are recovering in the Chiquibul. An assessment done this year shows that eighteen thousand seven hundred and fifty xaté plants within thirty plots are from five different species. Of those five species, the F.C.D. found evidence that only three were being harvested in the forest. The results also show a significant drop in the density of illegally extracted xaté leaves between 2012 and 2018 for two of the species.  Overall, it means that xateros are not operating as heavily in the forest when compared to five to ten years ago. In 2007, there were some one thousand five hundred Guatemalans operating up to fifty kilometers inside the forest. Today, we spoke with F.C.D.’s Biologist Boris Arevalo via phone. He tells us more about the positive findings of the study.

 

On the Phone: Boris Arevalo, Biologist, FCD

“We see a decrease of, to be exact, eighty-nine point nine percent decrease in the rate of extraction of the number of leaves that have been illegally cut from the Chiquibul. So, that is the most important conclusion that we have and that translate to the amount of financial revenue that the communities are generating by illegally cutting xate in the Chiquibul, nuh?  In 2012, it was a little over sixteen point three million leaves that had been illegally extracted compared to one point six million leaves in 2018. So, in terms of financials then you are looking at a little over seven hundred and twenty four thousand US dollars in 2012. And that in 2018 was seventy-three thousand US dollars.   I think it has a lot to do with the increase in the number of patrols and the efficiency of those patrols in the Belizean side. You can look at it in the changes in the exportation policies for xate because all the xate being exported, especially the fishtail, from the Peten Department has to go under a certified mechanism. And because of the illegal extraction from Belize, they have been trying to change the policies and make it more difficult for the illegally extracted xate to be under a certified legal mechanism in Guatemala. This makes it difficult, to say like there is money laundering, I always say this is xate laundering, because the illegally extracted xate cannot be exported under a legally certified system in Peten, yet is being exported as a certified, non-timber forest product. So, changes in exportation policies, changes in the international market price for xate, the bi-national work that the F.C.D. has been doing with the counterparts in Guatemala has helped a lot.”

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