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DW (File photo) / A forest in Catandica, Manica province, central Mozambique
Indiscriminate exploitation of forest resources is putting some areas of Mozambique at risk of desertification, the Mozambican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) warned yesterday.
“The situation is now alarming, because there are areas of the country that are headed for desertification,” said the director of the PGR Office of Collective and Diffuse Interests, Albino Macamo
He was speaking at a press conference about a meeting on forests to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in Maputo.
Without mentioning numbers or affected areas, Macamo pointed out the complicity between the various entities responsible for the protection of forestry resources as the main cause of illegal exploitation.
“Environmental crimes are carried out in the open and there are several players, including those who are not licensed” and “the communities themselves,” he said.
Illegal logging, he continued, is damaging the reproduction of forest species through violation of the rules on felling.
Moisés said that there was increasing involvement of communities in the felling of species of higher economic value, although the populations gained little advantage from the activity due to the lack of knowledge of the way it was carried out.
“The argument that communities benefit from timber does not stand up. They would need to cut down many trees” to achieve the same result as a licensed operator who already knows the terrain, he said.
Macamo pointed out that the country has an advanced legal framework for protecting forest resources but was failing to enforce the law.
“The Mozambican legislative framework is perfect in terms of regulation of forestry,” he said, but the protection of forest resources could not be achieved through transitory campaigns, only by extensive and consistent work.
Calling the situation in the country an “emergency”, he said that the conference on forests aimed to promote national commitment to the protection of forestry resources.
Mozambican magistrates, governors of 11 provinces of the country, administrators of the most affected areas, academics and representatives of the central government and Assembly of the Republic deputies will participate in the meeting.
“In the end, we will be issuing a declaration from Maputo, a national commitment by all these entities on forests,” Macamo added.
Magistrates from China were also invited to the conference, as China is the main destination for timber illegally exported by Mozambican operators.
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