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One hundred and eighteen cubic meters of protected-species wood were seized last Friday by the Forestry and Wildlife sector in Zambézia province, which is now seeking proof that it has not been illegally logged.
The timber, which was being transported in five trucks also seized, is being stored in Nicoadala district. The transport firm involved did not wish to make a statement to the press, saying the matter should be dealt with by the owners of the merchandise, who they did not identify.
The head of the Surveillance Office at the Provincial Forest and Wildlife Services in Zambézia, Pedro Benjamim, confirmed that the wood was seized due to doubts about the origin of the product and the suspected illegality of the documentation accompanying the merchandise.
He explained that an investigation into the origin of the wood would now follow and, if it was confirmed that forestry law had been violated, the offender would be fined.
Benjamin said that seven vehicles had been seized carrying timber in the closed season since the beginning of the year. The trucks, he said, had been seized in Alto Molócuè, Mocubela, and now in Nicoadala districts, all regions bordering the Gilé National Reserve, where loggers had been cutting timber illegally and exporting it via Nacala and Beira ports or, in some cases, across the border of Meloso in Milange district.
In the case of the wood seized in Alto Molócuè, it was confirmed that the operator was logging and transporting the wood illegally. The Provincial Services of Forests and Fauna Bravia fined the operator 540,000 meticais and the wood reverted in favour of the state.
The wood seized in Mocubela and Nicoadala was currently being analysed, Benjamim said, and the results of the research would be shared with the media as soon as possible.
In the Nicoadala instance, Noticias was told that the wood was cut later in the year, with most logs as yet unidentified, but the complainants said that it was umbila from the Gilé National Reserve with origin documents from two concessions.
Among the logs our reporter has seen on the trucks, some are identified but others have no markings and are already germinating. According to experts, felled wood can germinate within three days.
There are strong indications that the timber seized in Nicoadala had been cut very recently, with information indicating that its destination was somewhere in Mocuba, but that, following a better offer, it was being diverted to Beira on lorries from a company based in the provincial capital of Sofala.
January to March is a ‘closed season’ during which time, forestry law states, timber should be neither cut nor transported. However, lorries transporting timber of protected species have been seen leaving the Gilé National Reserve and other points in Zambézia province from January on, bound for Nampula, Beira and the Port of Quelimane.
By Jocas AcharSource: Notícias
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