Nature research threatened as criminality moves to countryside

boxtel forest

The ever decreasing supervision in nature areas is leading to an increase in criminal and illegal activities in the countryside.

This is according to the Royal Society of Nature Supervision, the association for, among others, foresters, hunting supervisors and investigators. "It even happens that foresters no longer dare enter the forest at night without a service weapon because of the danger to life and limb", Ronald Vorenhout, chairman of the Society, said to De Stentor.

The number of green special investigating officers has decreased from 800 in the year 2000 to 500 this year. According to Vorenhout, the police have withdrawn to the urban areas and therefore pays little attention to the countryside. "Hunting supervisors are frustrated, quit or make no mention of poaching."

Vorenhout told the newspaper that the forests are becoming increasingly more dangerous due to criminal activities, such as assassinations, poaching or aggressive youths under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The countryside also seems to have an increasing problem with illegal cannabis cultivation, often going hand in hand with other crimes like money laundering and extortion. Last year the police broke up more than 6 thousand cannabis plantations throughout the Netherlands, many of them in the countryside. Many Dutch mayors have been working on regulating cannabis cultivation in an effort to be able to control the quality of the product and reduce the criminality surrounding it, but so far the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, is solidly opposed to this plan.