The Forestry Department says that the country is running out of trees. The issue of unsustainable logging practices in Belize is a continuous concern for Belizeans and today the Deputy Chief Forest Officer, John Pinelo, explained that the department has been regulating logging as they have noticed a depletion of the forests.
John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Officer, Forest Department: “We’re running out of trees. Whenever we get logging licences, most of the time, we cannot approve them because we don’t have any material in the forest for them to log. So it is necessary for us to replant. It might be necessary to put a moratorium on logging for a while because we don’t have the materials and while the loggers might not like to hear that, they know it is true. They can’t find good material. The only thing they’re finding is small trees and if we’re cutting down small trees that are there to grow and become material in 20 years, we won’t have any logs pretty soon.”
Pinelo added that currently there are no replanting strategies put in place to replenish the trees that have been cut down. However, the department is looking to implement strategies to combat this issue.
John Pinelo, Deputy Chief Officer, Forest Department: “On a national scale, we have a restoration project that is about to be launched which will replant areas that have been identified as critical areas for replanting. Some of them are in forest reserves, some of them are in other protected areas and a big portion in the north is for degraded agricultural lands that we will start doing a replanting project through our reforestation project. Apart from that, we have been informed that the Government of Mexico wants to partner with Belize in a project they’re calling, “Sembrando Vida,” which is where in Mexico, they pay people to plant trees. They want to bring that idea over to Belize and while we have not sat down and decided how that will work out here, it is another layer of protection for reforestation in the country.”