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ENVIRONMENT:  352,000 hectares of Panama forest ravaged

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The cutting of 13 hectares of the protected Camino de Cruces has sparked outrage in Panama and moved the MOP to void the construction contract

Posted 10/06/2019

Panama  lost between  352 000 hectares of forests, between 2000 and 2017almost equivalent to the whole of Los Santos province (380,000 hectares)  and more than that of Herrera (234,000 hectares)  says Environmental Advocacy Center (CIAM).

The loss was created by agriculture, logging and construction projects says the center which uses data from Global Forest Watch as a reference.

Darién, where there have been many reports of illegal logging is the most affected province with the loss of  93,500 hectares. Reports from the Ministry of the Environment show that 97% of the wood that has been deforested in Darien is in clear violation of the laws reports La Prensa.

After Darién, comes   Panama province where 51,900 green hectares have disappeared.

Protected areas There are natural parks and protected areas such as the Chagres Natural Park, the Camino de Cruces Park, the protected wetlands of the Bay of Panama and the natural forests of Bayano, where hectares of forests have also been ravaged, even with the permission of public institutions.

Chiriquí lost 32,000 hectares and Colón 30,000 hectares,  in the same time frame.

 CIAM biologist,  Isaías Ramos said that In his opinion, there is no "concrete environmental order", nor any real political will on environmental issues, which goes beyond the signing of international agreements or the photo ops s when politicians plant trees in the country.

According to Ramos, the loss of vegetation is shown in different ways throughout the country. For example, he said that it occurs because of the permissiveness of state entities that allow construction without planning, livestock, agricultural, forestry or mining activities.

Tourism
"There is also high-impact tourism in fragile areas, without contemplating beyond the economic return of the moment and ignoring the consequences of each of these actions on the environment.”,

He stressed that this occurs "in the shadow" of a community that in most cases does not know what is happening, its rights to a healthy environment and the repercussion it will have on future generations.

Susana Serracín, of the Alliance for Conservation and Development,   said  the statistics were “chilling”

"I think it is clear that something is very wrong with environmental authorities and decision makers in the country, who give green light to harmful activities and projects.”

Examples were the extension of the  Omar Torrijos highway avenue, by the Ministry of Public Works,  where 13 hectares were cut down within the Camino de Cruces park,. and deforestation in Darién with little control.

She  also regretted that Panama is a signatory of international agreements such as the Paris  Biodiversity Accord and that there are regulations, referring to wildlife, and others that are now a dead letter. "It's not about stopping development, but we have to have respect for the environment. Not everything is money," she said.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/environment/environment-352000-hectares-of-panama-forest-ravaged

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