The Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) extended the moratorium on the granting of new logging permits for natural forests for one year, as a strategy to stop deforestation and protect natural forests, as established in resolution dated 21 October 2020, signed by the Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción.
Through the resolution it is resolved to provisionally suspend, at the national level, the granting of special permits for subsistence forest use and their modalities, community permits for forest use, concessions for forest use in natural forests, for a term no longer one year, the minister details.
However, applications in process when this resolution enters into force are exempted from this measure. In this regard, the MiAmbiente clarified that the suspension of the granting of forest permits and concessions in natural forests does not apply to commercial forest plantations, logging permits necessary for road and electrical safety, permits and concessions granted before the entry into force of this suspension. The measure begins to take effect on November 25, 2020.
In the provision, which provisionally suspends the use of wood from natural forests for a year, a round table was also convened for all the key actors in the environmental sector to collect technical, social and legal inputs that will serve to prepare a preliminary draft of forest law with the aim of strengthening forest governance.
The resolution is based on the revision of the regulations, with the aim of putting order and enforcing the laws, as well as technical studies carried out by the institution (Diagnosis of forest and other wooded lands 2019), which show that there is a decrease in forest cover in the last seven years, which reaches the figure of 56,369.49 hectares; which represents an average of 8,052.78 per year, according to MiAmbiente.
Regarding these figures, the resolution details that according to the diagnosis there is an annual behavior of loss of forest cover with the highest balances of this reduction in Veraguas, with a decrease of 6,965.44 hectares, Panama with 4,390.76 hectares and Darién with 2,225.80 hectares. In this province, the most critical points are Metetí and Yaviza.
The technical report also specifies that expansive agricultural activities, without the application of sustainable techniques, forest use without permits and the increase in infrastructure projects, are among the causes of deforestation at the national level and, on the other hand, that the covid
19 pandemic "severely" affected the actions of monitoring and oversight of the forests, since restrictions on mobility and reduction of personnel in public offices had an effect on having fewer suitable personnel to supervise and control the natural forests and forest plantations of the country, the resolution states.
The aforementioned technical report, in turn, indicates that due to the covid
-19 pandemic it was not possible to convene the dialogue table to comprehensively reform the Forestry Law (Law 1 of 1994), which had been convened when it was decreed the previous provisional suspension, for which it considers it is imperative to resume it during the term of the new provisional suspension.
According to the latest FAO data "The State of the World's Forests 2020", deforestation worldwide continues to occur at an alarming rate, so high priority should be given to areas with high values of biodiversity like for example the north of the Andes and Central America.
In order to comply with these measures established in this resolution, the authorities of the National Police, as well as the National Border Service and the Air Naval Service, are requested, based on the functions legally attributed to these entities, their active participation to prevent and repress the commission of criminal acts and offenses such as illegal logging throughout the national territory.