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Minister Orlando Habet says government seeks to issue licenses to import hardwood

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021. 3:23 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma: Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Orlando Habet said today that government will seek to issue licenses to import hardwood. Though there is hardwood in Belize’s forests, the ministry is looking at more sustainable logging practices.

Forestry falls under the purview of Minister Habet who is now seeking to implement sustainable logging policies and practices.

Minister Habet says that upon taking office, the new administration put a brief hold on all logging permits and licenses to review the policies and to find out if the policies were being done in accordance with the permits.

Minister Habet says that the ministry is aware of the lumber shortage in the country but found out about the problems that existed with the permits and licenses including the cutting of trees that are not yet mature and the cutting of trees that are not included in the license.

“Several areas have also been over-logged. There are some occasions that license holders come to forestry and say the license you gave me will not even pay for the road I had to open to reach the location and so we see those issues. From 2015 to 2020, there has been a drastic reduction in logs that are turned into lumber. I would say about close to 4 million board feet per year that is including pine lumber,” Habet said.

Therefore, Habet says there is a proposal that has been put to government to issue licenses for the importation of hardwoods because there is a need for hardwood apart from the softwood.

Minister Habet says that government has since approved the proposal so now the department will go through the protocols and requirements.

In addition, Minister Habet said that licenses for the importation of pine were to be given to businesses involved in that business but the former government issued licenses to people who were not doing that type of business.

The Ministry now plans to implement policies that will promote sustainable logging since it is the same ministry in charge of environment and sustainable development.


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