Corruption in Costa Rica Facilitating Persistent Illegal Logging

costa rica photo

photo: pete/Creative Commons

What comes to your mind when you think of Costa Rica (besides coffee, too easy...)? Rainforests and cloud forests, pristine beaches with good surfing, an underground railroad for jaguars... rampant corruption? Conservation Magazine is highlighting a new study showing how as much as Costa Rica is upheld as an exemplar of how to balance conservation and development, it's far from immune from corruption problems hampering these efforts.

To understand why, in 2005 [Michael Miller, from the University of South Florida] conducted in-depth interviews with 15 experts familiar with forestry issues in Costa Rica's Limon Province. In particular, he focused on the large Amistad-Caribe Conservation Area, where illegal logging is believed to be especially common. The experts, who ranged from government officials to environmentalists and loggers, painted a worrying picture. Forest regulators, they said, were routinely accepting bribes and other favors in exchange for opening protected areas to logging, or allowing loggers to take or transport more trees than allowed.

Why are people taking bribes? The same reason people take bribes in much of the world. Miller says it's because of "a serious failure to satisfy material needs, including salary, equipment, funds, and staff."

So, while perhaps not unusual, just take it as a reminder that just underneath the green surface, Costa Rica has some of the same struggles that other nations do. In one way at least that's a positive thing. It's not like you have to be entirely free of corruption, 100% transparent, and greenly righteous to still take important and largely successful conservation steps.

via: Conservation Magazine

Read the original report: Persistent Illegal Logging in Costa RicaL The Role of Corruption Among Forestry Regulators
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