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Does money grow on trees?

10 March 2017

The new General Law on Sustainable Forest Development, passed in the Chamber of Deputies on March 7, opens forests and “associated resources” to commerical development. The measure received the support of the center and right of center parties: the PRI and PAN majority, with support from the smaller New Alliance, Green, and Social Encounter parties.

Photo: Raul Miranda

The center-left to left parties, PRD, Citizens’ Movement and Morena objected, on the grounds that “associated resources” includes wild animals and plants, as well as water, which coexist in a forest ecosystem. Furthermore, with the legislation making “sustainable forest develoment” a priority area of economic development, it requires looking at forest ecosystems in terms of immediate value. From the opposition point of view, this opens the door to seeming forests as a source of profit, not as a ecological reserve for future generations.

Citizens’ Movement deputies also objected to wording in the bill that undoes a land use regulation passed only last year, that prohibits development of burned over forestsfor at least 20 years, meant to allow the damaged ecosystem to regenerate. Under the new bill, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMANAT) could simply could authorize fire-damaged forests as “regenerated” at any point, allowing for non-forest related commerical development .

However, the majority claims the legislation will open the door to privately managed forest ecosystems, that provide a permanent income source and improve the living conditions of the owners and dependents. generating sufficient resources to meet social, industrial and export demands for forest products

The approved bill defines forestry related business to include all natural resources in a forest… presumably allowing for mining and other extractive industries, and allows for cultivation of forest species of commerical value on land set aside for agriculture.
The new law, which was sent to the Senate for discussion, grants state governments the authority to promote the participation of public, private and nongovernmental organizations in projects that directly support sustainable forest development.

Source: Regeneración, 10 March 2017

 

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