Ortega Lifts Ban to Allow “Plundering of Forest Resources”

Pine forest in Nicaragua, threatened by new executive decree. Photo / Boletín Ecológico.

The National Assembly controlled by Ortega approves two decrees suspending the ban on pochote, Spanish cedar and pine species for two years, with the possibility of extension.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo ordered by decrees to suspend for at least two years the ban on the “cutting, exploitation, transport and commercialization of trees of the species” pochote, Spanish cedar and pine,” establishing that the latter may even be exploited in protected areas. The National Assembly gave its rubber stamp to the presidential decision.

“The ban on cutting, exploiting, transport and commercialization of pine trees is suspended throughout the national territory, including protective areas, for a period of two years,” states part of the decree 02-2022.

Decree 01-2022 states that in the case of pochote and Spanish cedar forests, the ban is suspended “except for protected areas and buffer zones.”

It also establishes that the National Forest Institute (INAFOR) “will grant new permits for industrial scale operations to all natural and legal persons that comply with the requirements established in the forestry industry regulations.” In addition, the restrictions prohibiting “the establishment of fixed or mobile sawmills” will be lifted.

Both decrees stipulate that the two-year period “may be extended based on studies and technical and administrative recommendations presented by INAFOR with the approval of the National Forest Commission (CONAFOR).”

In 2006, the National Assembly approved the “Law to ban cutting, use and commercialization of forest resources” which established, in its article 1, a ten-year ban, which could be extended, for the cutting and commercialization of mahogany, Spanish cedar, pochote, pine, mangrove and ceibo.

However, the Ortega regime has been approving in recent years the suspension of the ban for pine forests and, recently, since 2021, for species such as pochote and Spanish cedar.

On this occasion, the regime argued, to justify the logging of pine, pochote and Spanish cedar trees, that INAFOR presented a study and research “that helped assess the suspension of the ban on these species.” They also mention that the National Forest Commission “approved” the technical report that “supports the viability of continuing with the harvesting of these species, in accordance with the spatial distribution, population density and diameter distribution.”

“The suspension of the ban on the Spanish cedar and pochote species has contributed to boost the economic activities of the sector, the improvement of the population’s standard of living, the generation of direct and indirect jobs and the sustainability of forest resource,” indicate part of the arguments presented in the presidential decree.

Plundering of natural resources

Environmentalist Amaru Ruiz, of the Rio Foundation, affirms that the purpose of the suspension of the ban on these three species “is the same, to continue the plundering the country’s forest resources.”

“The impact that the suspension of the ban on these species is to continue with the neo-extractive model that the regime has, to benefit capital linked to national forest companies, some linked to capitals of the regime, and obviously to increase the processes of deterioration and deforestation that exists in the country,” he said.

Other renowned environmentalists such as Jaime Incer Barquero and Victor Campos, of the Humbolt Center, in previous years, in which periods of suspension of the ban on species such as pine have also been approved, have pointed out how damaging the permits are given for logging of forests.

Barquero, in a 2016 report for Confidencial, warned that the country is “running out of water” and that climate changes “are having an effect,” so there is a need to “protect the forests, the water producers.” He also said that those who “believe that forests are only producers of wood” are “mistaken.”

In 2021, Campos warned of the deterioration of the country’s forests, pointing out that 180,000 hectares of forest are cut every year in Nicaragua, and that 28 percent of this corresponds to the Bosawas and Rio San Juan reserves.

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One thought on “Ortega Lifts Ban to Allow “Plundering of Forest Resources”

  • They don’t only want to mess with the people, they want to mess with the environment. When will enough be enough?

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