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Home » Crime, Environment » F.C.D. says gold panning is now biggest threat to Chiquibul Forest
Apr 21, 2017

F.C.D. says gold panning is now biggest threat to Chiquibul Forest

Documents released by the F.C.D. chronicle the growth of gold-panning inside the inside the Chiquibul Forest, primarily its sharp spike in the southern portion of the forest in the last few years. According to F.C.D., Gold panning is the biggest threat to the Forest present day. The impacts of this illegal activity still haven’t been fully quantified because assessments are ongoing, but based on observations, watershed, animal and plant life have been reduced significantly in areas where the Guatemalans are operating. The Report states that in 2014, the first baseline study conducted on the freshwater macro-invertebrate communities in streams of the Chiquibul Forest, showed a higher abundance of pollutant resistant microbes in the Southern Chiquibul River sub-basin. Another surface observation was the increase of forest fires in the southern Chiquibul. There has been a deliberate setting of fires that has denuded the forest cover – these fires, according to F.C.D., are almost impossible to fight. Ongoing erosion in the southern part of the forest.  According to F.C.D., landslide and sedimentation are problems in the head waters of the Greater Belize River Basin. As a result of this, the Chiquibul headwaters is being affected and this feeds into the Greater Belize Watershed which provides water to about forty three percent of Belize’s population. The conclusion is that Gold-Panning is happening and it is a big concern, especially now that the F.C.D. has no information on how many Guatemalans are extracting gold present day. What they do know is that all three creeks – Ceibo Chico, Ceibo Grande and Mal Pago are being actively used by Guatemalans. The challenge with addressing some of these issues is that there is a lack of good access road, as well as resources for the rangers. The F.C.D. says that a strategy of all factors must be ongoing if they want to make an impact on the gold-panning activities. Some of these proposed solutions include frequent and targeted patrols – an approach that resulted in the detention of thirteen gold-panners in ten days.


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