HONDURAS: Greasing Palms
to Plunder Forests
By Jim Lobe, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=30876
WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (IPS) - Illegal logging by corrupt
interests tied to major political figures is devastating the
rapidly disappearing pine and mahogany forests of Honduras,
particularly in northeastern Olancho province, according to a
major report released here Thursday by the Environmental
Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Centre for International
The report is based on a series of trips to Honduras over the
past year in which EIA investigators posed as investors or
buyers of illegally logged timber. It identifies the major
companies involved, foremost among them Jose Lamas S. de R.L., a
major supplier of pine products to the U.S. home-furnishing
giant, Home Depot.
At the current logging rate, mahogany in Honduras may become
all but extinct within 10 to 15 years, according to the 45-page
report, which added that illegal operations now threaten the Rio
Platano Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Meanwhile, the Honduran government, which has failed to
provide adequate funds to enforce logging laws, is losing as
much as 18 million dollars a year in lost stumpage fees and
other forest-based revenue, according to the report, "The
Illegal Logging Crisis in Honduras".