With help from U.S. organizations, Panama’s Indigenous people are using satellite images and other technologies to identify illegal logging and incursions by ranchers on their territory. But spotting the violations is the easy part — getting the government to act is far harder.
Recent seizures of illegally sourced wood in Panama have highlighted the important role the country plays the international timber trade, due to both its strategic geographical position and valuable species of trees on its territory. On March 28 and 31, Panamanian police seized two containers at ports in the northern city of Colón, carrying a species of local wood, known as cocobolo, on their way to China. Jointly, the two containers held around 850 pieces of cocobolo wood, also named Dalbergia retusa.