Published: Saturday 31 March 2001

Environmentalists have raised strong objections about the Costa Rican government's proposed national forestry plan, which they allege favours the logging industry. The country's environment ministry had recently released the 'National Plan for Forestry Development', which has provisions to determine which forest areas should be protected, open to logging or be reforested.

Costa Rican Environmental Conservation Federation contends that the proposal will lead to the destruction of the country's forests. "This document represents the point of view of those who have vested economic interest in lumber extraction," alleged Jorge Lobo, a biologist with the University of Costa Rica. They claim that the plan is just an extension of the government's moneymaking agenda.

The plan also acknowledges that the problem of illegal deforestation is rampant, but this has been happening without the government's knowledge and permission. "The ministry is trying to cover up for the deficiencies in its management plans by saying that illegal activities technically fall outside its sphere of control," charge the environmentalists.

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