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Apr 8, 2014

Illegal harvesting of rosewood on the surge

The Forestry Department has announced that it will soon be conducting a sweep of the Stann Creek District in an effort to halt illegal harvesting of precious rosewood. The operation has become necessary after an upsurge in rosewood movement, especially in southern Stann Creek. Pictures obtained from our colleagues at PGTV on a frequent basis show what seems to be unabated harvesting of rosewood. With a moratorium in effort, that makes the continued harvesting illegal. But illegal or not, it’s been a concern before, during and after the recent amnesty followed by the moratorium. Today, Chief Forest Officer Wilber Sabido told News Five that the moratorium did not exactly yield expected results.

 

Via Phone: Wilber Sabido, Chief Forest Officer

Wilber Sabido

“Marginally successful. What ought to have happened when the moratorium was on was that the rosewood assessment which is an inventory of the standing stock ought to have been done concurrently with the moratorium. Unfortunately due to the rainy season which came upon us last year, we were unable to start until the end of last year, December 2013, so much so that in terms of the rosewood assessment we plan to be finished with that around early June, and based on the analysis that we will do we hope to get back to our Ministry, our Minister with concrete recommendations on how it is that we can manage the existing, remaining resources. In terms of the actual rosewood and where it is going, there are reports that it is possibly filtering through our borders with Guatemala. Those are materials that are unstamped and are basically illegal, because since the moratorium is on we aren’t issuing any permit for anybody to harvest.”

 

Mike Rudon

“Would it be possible that some of this illegal rosewood is being pushed through the system to eventually become certified?”

 

Via Phone: Wilber Sabido

“I won’t say that it is not possible but it is difficult to do that. Because one we have a definitive volume of material that has been quantified when we did the amnesty period in 2013…meaning that we know who holds that rosewood and the majority of the rosewood that would have been exported…the majority has already been exported.”

 

Last estimates show approximately three hundred and seventy thousand board feet of rosewood assessed and certified during the amnesty, with more than half already exported. 

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