Forestry Concessions in the Columbia River Forest Reserve

Logging in the Jungle

Logging in the Jungle

A recent series of forestry concessions given out by the Belizean government has prompted a public outcry by the Toledo Healthy Forest Initiative (THFI), a partner of Ya’axche.

THFI has requested a meeting with Gaspar Vega, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, to take place this week.  More news to come as events transpire.

Today the THFI will broadcast the following press release in order to inform the public and media of its intent:

Punta Gorda – In 2004 the Forest Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, in response to the outcry of concerned citizens, organizations and other resource users about the rampant unsustainable logging, established the Toledo Healthy Forest Initiative (THFI). The purpose of THFI was to advance sustainable management of Toledo’s natural resources, particularly forest management.

bz-pam-columbia-river-forest-reserveOver the last four years THFI has made significant progress with communities and other resources users towards appreciating the importance of adopting sustainable logging practices. To date THFI has collaborated with the Forest Department to implement a consultative process in the issuance of short –term concessions and, through its members has developed two community-based forest management plans for Conejo and Santa Teresa – a first for Belize. Additionally, a rapid forest resource assessment of Toledo’s forests has been completed. Currently, THFI is playing a role in formulating an integrated management plan for the 150,000 acre Colombia River Forest Reserve, in order to develop mechanisms for communities to sustainably manage and benefit from the forest reserve.

Although much has been achieved there exists a high risk that these advancements will be undone, as evident by the recent concessions granted in Colombia River Forest Reserve and Maya Mountain North. The members of THFI call on government to reconsider these licenses and to continue to support the opportunity to have resource users adopt and benefit from the sustainable management of our resources.

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