In November last year the guards reported that they were conducting a joint investigation into illegal logging in Arenal National Park, adjoining the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, with MINAET, the environment ministry. It is important for MCL staff to reciprocate with MINAET over these anti-logging operations even when the logging is not in the CER itself in order to stop the loggers before the start logging in the CER and because the biodiversity is dependent on the conservation integrity of the whole region.
At the annual assembly we were shown a video of another logging incident and the investigations. Unfortunately, I can’t share that video with you yet as it is evidence in a criminal investigation. But that investigation has moved on. Milled wood has been found at an up-market hotel in La Fortuna and the wood is being DNA tested to confirm our information that the wood comes from the national park. The test will be able to show which individual trees the wood originates from. This will be crucial evidence in securing a conviction.
Wendy Brenes, our information officer, attended a public meeting about the incident in La Fortuna which was well attended by local people who supported MCL in preventing logging in the reserves. They expressed concern about the damage to the environment, erosion and effect on water supplies. We have many allies who are helping keep us informed when people are seen behaving suspiciously, for example with logging equipment in the reserves.
In a smaller incident, the guards also received a tip-off about logging inside the CER and an investigation has led to a formal complaint being lodged with the police against person suspected of being responsible.
Having good relations with networks of local people and their good will is vital in being able to prevent these incidents and to be able to hold the people accountable and prevent further damage when they do occur. There are thousands of eyes out there watching our forest for us.