Forests, wealth that is lost

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By. Jose C. Serrano

In the use of forest resources, some illegal activities have an impact that have contributed to the deterioration and systematic wear and tear of the ecological, productive and economic potential of the forests of Mexico.

The most frequent illicit activities in forestry are the following:

  • Land-use change. The agricultural, livestock and population occupation policies have caused the deforestation of large wooded areas, through the influence of incentives for the change of land use towards these activities.
  • Illegal logging. It is estimated that of the total legally harvested timber, another 15 percent is illegally harvested. Approximately 60 percent of illegal logging is concentrated in 15 critical forest areas distributed in 18 states.
  • Uncontrolled mining practices. Around 12 million people live in the forested areas of the country, most of whom suffer from high rates of marginalization and poverty; they carry out self-consumption practices at different intensity. The population settled in such territories uses firewood as fuel.
  • Lack of security in land tenure. The predominant form of ownership of Mexico's forests is the ejido or communal; around 75 percent of these forests and natural protected areas are within the boundaries of the country's ejidos and indigenous communities. Such concentration has significant implications for the long-term use of the forest and natural resources in general. Specifically, by the boundaries between ejidos, communities and small owners.

Open sources of information add to the above that the alliance of criminal gangs and authorities destroy forests and jungles with fire and blood. ANDn the illegal logging of forests and jungles in the country, the presence of organized crime is growing and has become unstoppable. It dominates ejidos and forest communities. The population is terrified by the threats of these criminal groups.

The pernicious couple made up of loggers and unscrupulous authorities ignores that the country has 138.7 million hectares of timber, of which, according to the National Forestry Commission (Conafor), 208,000 are deforested each year. Thus Half of the vegetation is lost, water scarcity prevails, insecurity grows, and environmental defenders are murdered.

Likewise, the couple ignores that forests favor the recharge of aquifers, function as "water factories", are the habitat of wildlife and also capture carbon, relevant in the context of climate change. In areas where felling has been intensive, up to half of the vegetation has been lost.

Among these areas are Huitzilac, Morelos, where people do not report out of fear; in Ocuilan, State of Mexico, municipal authorities got tired of asking for support from the state government; in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua is a permanent problem, and in Warrior crime takes advantage of ejido conflicts to cut down.

The crimes of loggers in the area of The Malinche they increased from 2005 and are unstoppable, because they act with the protection of municipal authorities and involve political and economic interests, assure small owners of the municipality of San Francisco Tetlanohcan, Tlaxcala.

Clandestine logging in the mountainous area of Milpa Alta, in Mexico City, According to the representatives of the communal property of that town, it flourished as a result of the permits issued by the Environment authorities for the use of trees that fell during the registered winds, first in 2010, and then, in 2016, and since then it hasn't stopped.

Due to the scarcity of water, the gangs of loggers diversified their business: the “huachicoleo de agua”. They “milk” the drinking water pipeline and sell between 1,500 and 2,000 pesos for the cistern tank.

Maria Luisa Albores Gonzalezhead of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), has an enormous task pending: to recover the wealth that criminals and dishonest authorities have stolen.

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