Mexico has seen the arrest of 103 people in 129 forest raids over the past six months – compared with just 31 arrests in 2003.

And 1,530 truckloads of illegally logged timber were also seized in the clampdown which will see surveillance stepped up in 2005.

Environment minister Alberto Cardenas, who has pledged to eliminate illegal logging, said a bigger budget would allow helicopters, small planes, satellite images and troops to be deployed in the battle which sees Mexico lose 1.3 million acres of forest a year. A nationwide database will also be set up to keep track of timber.