Environment Minister calls on Pomac Forest Historical Sanctuary squatters to leave voluntarily before eviction and reforestation

Environment Minister Antonio Brack Egg called on hundreds of Peruvians who have been squatting the Pomac Forest Historical Sanctuary for years to leave voluntarily before a forced eviction ahead of a reforestation project, daily Peru21 reported Friday.

“Squatters have no future in the forest,” Brack said during a visit to Pomac. “No property titles will be granted and no help will be given by the Peruvian government.”

The Pomac Forest Historical Sanctuary is located in Batán Grande, approximately 20 kilometers from Ferreñafe, or 30 kilometers from the city of Chiclayo. The forest is a refuge for carob trees, birds, and varied flora.

However, only 5,000 hectares of forested land remain because squatters have been burning the carob trees to make and sell coal.

The eviction will allow the Environment Ministry to reclaim and reforest the land, said Brack. It will not be turned over to multinational corporations, he added.

The reforestation at Pomac is part of a larger nationwide tree-planting project which aims to plant 40 million trees by Feb. 20 to capture more than 570,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The Pomac Forest Historical Sanctuary is also the home of the Sican Archaeological Project, which comprises pre-Inca mounds or pyramids, known locally as huacas. These tombs were filled with valuable burial items composed of crowns, masks, bracelets, necklaces, weapons, armor, and other objects of gold and semiprecious stones like turquoise, and spondylus.

Last July, squatters planted onions and corn on top of the Lucía-Chólope, a 3,000-year old pre-Incan palace, weakening its structure.

Brack has asked police to act firmly but prudently during the upcoming eviction.

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