The Public Ministry is conducting an investigation into the illegal logging of 127 hectares of forest in the protected areas of Darien.
Raisa Banfield, architect and environmentalist, believes that this practice could be the “collusion” of local and national authorities.
In her opinion, it is impossible for these events to go unnoticed given the significant presence of the security forces in Darién. She pointed out that the worst poverty in Darién is the devastation of its natural wealth, given the indifference and little action of many.
“Although sustainable forest harvesting is a valid alternative, I consider that its application in Darién has been the front for the unjustified and devastating logging that is behind it. she said.
According to the Center for Environmental Incidence (CIAM), which took data from Global Forest Watch as a reference, the country lost between 2000 and 2017 about 352,000 hectares of forests, due to activities such as agriculture, logging or construction. In that period, therovince of Darién had a forest loss of 93,500 hectares.
Environmentalist Alida Spadafora said that an investigation is required that yields concrete data for there to be an exemplary conviction. "A prevention campaign is important, but even more so is the condemnation." He explained that in Darien every year there is indiscriminate deforestation, which may well bring a business behind it, so it is necessary to condemn the felling of forests.
“Everyone knows that deforesting is a crime, that you have to take care of the forests, but despite this, illegal logging continues. That is why conviction is necessary ”, he assured.
Deputy Edison Broce, a member of the National Assembly's Environment and Development Commission, indicated that as long as there is little institutional presence in the area, lack of resources and neglect of the Darien province, it will be difficult to stop deforestation.
Like Spadafora, he believes that exemplary penalties for offenders could help discourage the commission of these crimes.
The MP reported that, after an environmental investigation in the area, it was verified that it is a natural forest where national monument trees, such as Almendro and Nazareno, with ages between 200 and 500 years, have been affeced; likewise, birds such as orioles, red and yellow macaws, primates and other varieties of flora and fauna in danger of extinction.
Panamá has some good laws on the books, but fails to enforce them. The law against deforestation is one example. Another is the law against poaching giant turtle eggs.
There are checkpoints all along the road from Darien. The cops want to look at whats in your ice chest. But huge trucks hauling logs are no problem.
This is nothing new. It's been going on for decades. The loggers pay off the local politicos, the Forestry people, the police. and they haul out as much as they want. Then all of a sudden some Greenie notices it and BANG!! It's a problem. Just life in Panama.