The lack of publication of information on those committing forest offences is a persistent problem: the information published on the MAE website refers to the offences, but not the offenders. Although this information is important, more important still is that the list of people failing to comply with the law should be made public, and particularly that it should be shared between the institutions related to the forest sector; failure to do so could generate cases like that of offenders accessing credits for forestation or reforestation programmes, or bidding in auctions of confiscated material.
By sending a request for information on a provincial level, it was possible to obtain a list of offenders. However, it would be useful if these lists were available directly on the website of the central MAE office, as it is known that, on occasions, the same offenders are bidding in auctions of confiscated material (1).
Having access to the lists of offenders and the territories in which these infractions have not been punished might help to put pressure on the judicial authorities responsible for applying the regulations or, failing that, might allow citizens to identify the offenders and demand that the authorities enforce the law. These lists would also help civil society organisations to press for legal trade in timber by exercising greater control over bidders for public supply, and ensure that those committing infractions of the forest law do not benefit.
The Ecological Defence Foundation (FUNDECOL) in Muisne carried out an investigation to systematise the offences committed in mangrove swamps, and the principal conclusion was that many offences go unpunished, and even when a punishment is imposed, there are no mechanisms to ensure that it is carried through (2). Civil society organisations play an important role by creating review panels for these processes, but there needs to be greater clarity on mechanisms for fulfilment of the laws and penalties so that these organisations can help the authorities prevent forestry offences.
(1) Cárdenas, C., Mejorando y coordinando la aplicación de la legislación forestal ambiental, Ciudadanizando la Política Ambiental, No.1. (Improving and coordinating environmental forest legislation, Applying Environmental Policy to Citizens) Grupo FARO, Quito-Ecuador, 2010. http://www.grupofaro.org/sites/default/files/archivos/publicaciones/2011/2011-06-24/sedefa-ley_forestal5.pdf
(2) More details to be found at http://www.fundecol.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&Itemid=97
|Title||a. Lists of offenders on a provincial level|
|Organisation||a. Ministry of Environment|
|Date||a. Depends on the request|
|Source||a. A list can be obtained via an application at the provincial level|