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Nov 11, 2011

Ya-axche and APAMO write the Prime Minister about rosewood extraction

Two NGOs have teamed up to fight illegal logging within days of a report by  Friends for Conservation Development which disclosed that Guatemalan loggers have moved significantly into Belizean territory and that the exploitation of the forests continue unabated in the south. According to the FCD report called Chiquibul Forest and Development- A Case for Urgent Action, the loggers have penetrated ten kilometers into Belizean territory and have reached about one kilometer from the highway leading to the Caracol Archeological Reserve. FCD says that at least two point four million dollars have been lost in the illegal activities. On Thursday, both the Ya’axche Conservation Trust and APAMO, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization wrote the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister on the extraction of rosewood from the Toledo forests. Ya’axche points out that while there has been a steady increase in the harvesting of the precious wood, the established practice for its protection through a custom order has been discontinued. It asserts that permits are regularly granted for large quantities of raw timber for export and that even though the logging season is closed, the trees are still being cut and timber is being stamped by the Forest department officials. Ya’axche also says that it has evidence that small trees are being extracted which suggests that rosewood stocks on community lands may have reached a critical level. It urges the government to issue a moratorium on all harvesting of wood and to formally re-instate the necessary legislation that will prohibit the export of raw rosewood timber. APAMO wrote the deputy prime minister, Gaspar Vega, offering support to Ya’axche in its appeal to GOB to address the illegal logging through clarification of current legislation with respect to permits, licenses and exports. It also called on the government to stop the open and organized plundering and for a moratorium on all harvesting of rosewood until there is re-assessment of stocks.

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