OP ED: James “JB” Bryson
I encourage people visiting PNO.com to keep a keen eye on this story that La Prensa has been running. Part of the beauty of Panama is the indigenous flora and fauna that make the environment unique. Cutting and logging in the buffer zone of Darien National Park should NEVER be permitted and the fact that the Ministry of the Environment feels they can do so with no outrage should be a sign of the lack of checks and balances that currently pollute this administration to the core.
More than 142 thousand hectares – or the equivalent of 60% of the total area of the province of Herrera – are under “sustainable use” or community logging permits between East Panama and Darién, projects that are questioned by indigenous communities for ecological damage that cause.
1ST DELIVERY: Miambiente approves cutting down endangered trees
Of these, more than 60 thousand hectares are cut down trees located in the Alto Darién Protected Forest (which overlaps with the Emberá Wounaan region) and are even in the buffer zone of the Darién National Park.
According to the Ministry of Environment, which authorized the use of community and subsistence timber, the legislation that protects the aforementioned forest allows its use because the felling is selective: protection trees and seedbeds are left, a development that was promoted in Darien by the oenegé International World Wildlife Fund.
This newspaper learned of multiple irregularities in these community projects that account for 80% of the guaranteed volume. And, in spite of the fact that trees were cut illegally in several communities, logging permits were renewed, many of them based on documents that reflect an ecological reality of more than a decade ago.