Since 1999, Venezuela’s deforestation rate has been reduced by 47.3 percent thanks to environmental policies implemented by the government of President Hugo Chávez. Wooded areas now account for over 47.6 million hectares, which is more than a half of the national territory.
The news was announced this week by Vice Minister for Environmental Conservation, Alexander Cegarrra, who presented the “National Forest Inventory,” a document containing a map of Venezuela’s forest coverage, as well as statistical and geographical information about the status and evolution of forest resources.
“Argentina, Chile and Mexico are the only other countries in Latin America that have this instrument. Thanks to the efforts of the Bolivarian government, through the Environment Ministry, Venezuela has joined the group of nations that have a forest inventory,” Cegarrra said.
Vice Minister Cegarra highlighted the passage in 2008 of the Law on Forests and Forest Administration, and the fact that some forest concessions have been revoked to protect the country’s resources.
The law establishes some logging bans to protect local tree species like the Albizia Saman, Cordia Alliodora and mahogany trees.
“Before the revolution, areas of land would be put in the hands of economic actors in the country that would devastate and degrade them. Fortunately, that practice has been reverted and now we have established minimum standards for logging that guarantee the natural regeneration of forests,” the Vice Minister explained.
Additionally, low-impact extraction techniques have been implemented to administer forests.
“The State’s policies and the implementation of specific forest norms demonstrate to the world how the country’s wooded areas have been recovered and how the deforestation rate has been reduced, an important achievement in this region of the world,” Cegarra said.
AVN / Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / June 6, 2012