Liberia has begun the process of revoking timber permits that were allocated inappropriately over a two-year period, allowing logging companies to claim 40 percent of the country’s forests, the head of the Forestry Development Authority said.
The holders of 17 so-called Private Use Permits, or PUPs, have been told their permits will be reviewed, Harrison Karnweah said, adding that “more will come.”
A government investigation completed last December found that the permits, which were intended for individual landowners, had been exploited by logging companies looking to circumvent social and environmental safeguards. In response, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf halted the companies’ operations and issued a moratorium on the licences.
A total of 63 the permits had been issued, according to the report.
“Most of these PUPs were granted in contravention of the Forestry Reform Law of 2006,” Karnweah said. “Consequently, we have to revoke them.”
He added that the permits could be reinstated if the review process shows they were granted legally. Companies can also appeal to the courts.
Read more at MSN.