50 percent of Panama’s forests have been lost due to deforestation

Panamanian Environment Minister Milciades Concepcion warned that just three of his country’s 10 provinces have good forest coverage after decades of deforestation.

According to the official estimate, 50 percent of Panama’s forests have been lost, as well as the biodiversity they harbored. About 30 percent of the lands that have been deforested are sterile, requiring action to regenerate and recover the soil.

Deforestation started to increase since the 1950s, degrading about 10 percent of the total forest coverage, according to Concepcion. “Then, we had almost 90 percent forest coverage, and it was degraded so much that by 2012, which is the latest report we have, we had practically 50 percent less.”

Concepcion asked for everyone’s help in implementing plans to recover and monitor the forests, including the one-year moratorium at the national level on lumbering and the suspension on issuing lumbering permits.

“We need to organize society so that we’re all defending our natural resources. We at the Environment Ministry alone, with our 1,700 personnel, cannot do it. We’re leading the environmental effort… We want to work as a team because all of us have to save the country environmentally.”

Sources: EFE, Pagina Siete, teleSUR.

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