FCD Commissioned Study Reveals Startling Facts
Illegal logging within the Chiquibul Forest remains one of the foremost causes of biodiversity loss within the national park. An assessment of the problem to determine its scale was commissioned by Friends for Conservation and Development and conducted over a two-year period, between 2010 and 2012. A recent report concludes that almost three million board feet of cedar has been hauled out of the Cayo District, with an estimated commercial value of approximately eight and a half million Belize dollars. Almost three million board feet of Mahogany at an estimated cost of ten million Belize dollars has been illegally extracted. That was three years ago. A recent study conducted by FCD indicates that an estimated eighteen point eight million U.S. dollars in illegally logged lumber has been removed from the area. From May 2014 to May 2015 logging activity has increased by three point three percent but no new illegal logging activity has been reported in the Chiquibul Forest since September of last year.
FCD Says 18 Million in Hardwood Stolen From Chiquibul
The Friends for Conservation and Development or FCD as they are known, the co-managers of the Chiquibul National Park, released their annual report today on illegal logging activities in the protected area.
Their estimate is that from 2010 to 2012 4.248 million US dollars' worth of Cedar has been illegal cut, and 5.199 million US dollars' worth of Mahogany has been illegally harvested. That's a total of $18.89 million Belizean dollars that has been lost from the Chiquibul. First off, the good news is that there have not been any visible signs of illegal logging since September of 2014. But the bad news is that's probably because all the logs close to the border have already been illegally extracted and the poachers would have to come too deep into Belize to find more. But, no doubt, it's also because there are a greater number of park rangers and security forces patrolling the Chiquibul.
Still, the present illegal logging zone, which has not increased, is measured at 45,567 hectares - or approximately 176 square miles.
Overall, the area impacted by illegal logging has increased by a factor of 2.5 between 2010 and 2015. The report notes that the present illegal logging zone of impact is 45,567 hectares or 4.4 times the size of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. And the numbers? Well, they are staggering! Overall, a total of 8.7 million board feet of lumber have been illegally extracted from the Chiquibul Forest, having with an estimated monetary value of $18. 8 million US, or 37.6 million Belize dollars.