Corruption in both private and public sectors in many places has led to unbridled deforestation for various purposes, but all in the name of profit. Frequently this involves collusion between the exploiters and government or the bribery of officials responsible for enforcement of conservation regulations or for the protection of reserves. Corruption often begins at high levels and continues all the way down the government hierarchy. Logging companies may bribe government officials for logging concessions, or legislators to keep fees and taxes low, or low-level officials not to enforce regulations. At a local level, village officials can be tempted to ignore violations or to allow logging or extraction to occur where it is not permitted. Ill-paid guards at parks and reserves may be bribed by poachers to close their eyes when animals are killed within the confines of protected areas. Many people in tropical countries depend upon “fees” of this sort for survival because wages are low or agricultural profits limited. These practices are so pervasive that – even should the will exist – eradicating them appears almost impossible.

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