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In 2020, an investigation lead by Eduardo Franco Berton titled “Rare trees are disappearing as `wood pirates´ log Bolivian national parks”, supported by GRID-Arendal's Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants programme, was published on Mongabay.com.

The investigation shed a light on the rare trees being illegally felled in Bolivian national parks, providing an insight on organised crime operating in the parks and the local authorities' limitations when fighting back. It described illegal groups' internal organisation and their roles. The investigation also revealed the shipment process and external supports that criminal organisations receive, contributing not only to illegal logging but also aiding drug trafficking activities in the region.

A few days after the investigation's publication, a shipment described in the article containing 5.600 board feet of mara wood was intercepted by authorities as it was leaving Amboro National Park. The story accrued over 12.000 views for the Spanish version in less than two months, and was selected among one of the best investigative stories in Latin America from the year 2020 by the Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (COLPIN).

In addition to that, this work was cited on various occasions around the globe, including Natural Security (USA), Harvard University, the REDD-Monitoring page, and the German Forest Tunes Campaign.

Congratulations to Eduardo Franco Berton for this investigation and for making a difference in the fight against illegal logging!

Release date: 12 Oct 2021

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