Deforestation Wreaks Havoc in Guatemala’s Caribbean Region
GUATEMALA CITY, Dec 17 2012 (IPS) - “Many tourists come to this area for bird watching, but the terrible deforestation is leading to the disappearance of so much of our flora and fauna. The cleared land is used for cattle ranching,” said Haroldo Figueroa, who works as a guide in nature reserves along Guatemala’s Caribbean coast.
The statistics bear him out. The province of Izabal along Guatemala’s northeast Caribbean coast is one of the areas with the highest deforestation rates in the country, according to two government studies on forests, covering the 1991-2001 and 2006-2010 periods.
Forests in that province shrank from 373,000 hectares in the 1991-1993 period to just over 264,000 hectares in 2010, according to the two studies carried out by the National Institute of Forests and the National Council on Protected Areas, with the support of two private universities: Valle de Guatemala and the Jesuit-run Rafael Landívar.
“Deforestation is caused by people or landowners who don’t take into account the consequences that it has on global warming, fishing and tourism,” Figueroa told IPS. “And whoever has money can do whatever they want here.” .......