…68 parcels to be granted by SeptemberThe Guyana Forestry Commission has been flocked with 459 applications from interested stakeholders after concessions for 68 parcels of land were advertised.This disclosure was made by Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman and Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), James Singh on Thursday, which suggests that interest still prevails in the traditional sectors.Generally, the Commission would advertise areas available for allocation and after the applications are received, they are screened by a Technical Sub-Committee for the requisite criteria.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman“We would first advertise areas available for allocation, having checked those areas, and verify that they have stocking. We normally advertise for one month. We receive applications. The applications are screened and processed and then they are reviewed by the GFC Board, Technical Sub-Committee, which has a series of criteria that they use to evaluate the applications. Those criteria are public. The Technical Sub-Committee would then make its recommendations to the full GFC Board which would then approve the award of concessions,” the Commissioner explained.The process, Singh said, would take some two months. Since they are in the reviewing stage, the applications should be granted by September.“That process would take between one or two months. Currently, the Board’s Technical Sub-Committee is in the process of reviewing the 459 applications. Hopefully in September, we’ll be able to make the award.”During World Environment Day last June, the Government said it was looking to make reforestation a mandatory requirement for loggers and miners applying for concessions, so as to preserve and sustain its forests.President David Granger had emphasised that protecting the environment is an obligation, not an option. It was noted that Guyana is proud to be part of the “Guiana Shield,” which is considered to be the “lungs of the world”. To this end, he underscored the importance of safeguarding the country’s forests from harmful activities, such as mining and logging.“Mining and logging are two of the principal contributors to deforestation. Small-scale mining alone accounted for about 89 per cent of deforestation over the past three years. So small-scale mining has a large-scale impact on the environment. Deforestation by both mining and logging has scarred our rainforests with craters. These wastelands result in further land degradation of the exposed land. Guyana’s forestry and mining laws will be strengthened to make re-forestation and land reclamations conditional for the approval of mining and logging concessions,” the Head of State posited.