Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Illegal Logging Practices in Mozambique

Nearly half of the land in Mozambique is forest and state owned. Of that land, 67% is used for production. Even though there has been a certain amount of land put aside for industry, the forests have been declining at an average rate of .5% annually. Due to this, the country’s primary forests no longer remain. There has been much concern over the legality of logging. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has published a report that, “…assesses timber production, consumption, and exports, finding that nearly two-thirds of logging is currently illegal.” It is also noted that, “harvesting is exceeding sustainable levels, threatening the long-term viability of the industry and putting local livelihoods at risk." Over 250 million dollars of illegal timber is cut each year and it is taking money away from the country. The money that could be gained would go directly towards law enforcement and better management.
I feel that Mozambique needs to stop these illegal logging practices as soon as possible. Since the Minister of Agriculture, Jose Pacheco, is one of the best candidates for the presidential election, his election will cause more problems. He has been identified as having connections to timber smugglers and with his power, worsen the industry and allow the illegal practices to continue. There already is weak governance and corruption that will only get worse if he gets elected. I agree with the push for “…a moratorium on new logging licenses; greater transparency from the government on forestry information; and the establishment of an independent forestry watchdog.” The forests are declining at a fast rate and they aren’t being replenished at the same speed. Eventually, if there are no restrictions, the country will face many more problems.
--Kristen Forti

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