There have been many reports from the Maleku Reserve about Marvin Castro and his farm these past two months.
A Maleku community member and worker on the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project called to report that Marvin was in contact with the Maleku Development Association trying to get a permit to cut the huge trees in the 24 hectares of primary forest on the property. I told this person that a permit couldn’t be allowed for two reasons. First, it is illegal to cut trees larger than a certain diameter in Costa Rica. Second, to remove the big trees from the primary forest the equipment would have to pass over the newly reforested areas and is strictly prohibited. Once an area is reforested it cannot be changed, ever.
A couple of weeks later Daniel went to look at Marvin’s reforested area in Viento Fresco to find it full of cattle. We got the cows out and found the owner who will be reimbursing LRFF for the damage done to the trees. He also fixed the fence and there haven’t been any problems since.
Last week Marvin called me again to ask about this project, if there were any donations. I told him that we had a little over $200 in donations at this time but since he wants $300,000 for the property it looks like it will take quite a while to fund the project. “Oh, Roberta”, said Marvin, “I am in such a bad financial state at this time. I owe the previous owner $28,000 and she wants her money. I’ve sold my business and don’t know what to do.” I didn’t know what to tell him but let him know that I had found out about his wanting to cut those beautiful trees and applying for a permit. His reply was that because of his need for funds he thought they were a very valuable resource and wanted to cash in on it.
This is the continuing problem with privately owned forest properties. Circumstances change and one of the first things people look for is a resource to cash in when times get tough. You see, this is 38 Hectares of Valuable Resources for the Maleku, but for a completely different reason. They don’t see trees as wood but as living beings we share the Earth with and who provide for us in a balanced way.
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