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Illegal Logging Destroying the Peruvian Amazon, Report Says​

According to a newly released report, logging concessions in Peru are causing increasingly widespread illegal logging, which in turn is having a detrimental effect on the environment, biodiversity and hardwood resources of the Amazon.

Scientific Reports published the report on Thursday, detailing the geographic and legal violations related with logging violations specific to concessions—contracts for public land for up to 40 years and for 10 to 125 acres of land. The report found that 70 percent of government inspected logging concessions have major violations or have had their contracts revoked, leading to an increase in unregulated logging.

Despite several attempts to control logging through legislation, there is still pervasive corruption and abuse. Peru’s 2000 Forest and Wildlife Law No. 27308 established a process for regulating permits, concessions, and authorizations of logging in an effort to promote sustainable logging in the area. The U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement of 2009 included a Forestry Annex that attempted to create a new legal system for logging, but failed to eliminate exploitation. And the most recent Forestry Law, passed in 2011, has not yet been executed.

While the report focused on concessions and their environmental effects, the researchers also mentioned the social effects of unregulated logging. “The Peruvian people will get less economic return than they could, particularly those who depend more directly on the forest such as some indigenous communities, while Amazonian biodiversity will continue to decline,” said Clinton Jenkins, one of the report’s authors.

President of the Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP), Alberto Pizango, cited the report for its importance in opening dialogue between the government and native groups. “The findings […] reinforce our demand that the government help us to protect our lands, and that it recognize our rights over the forest where our peoples have lived for hundreds of years,” he said.

Stay tuned for Americas Quarterly's Spring 2014 issue for in-depth analysis of ILO 169, land rights, and previous consultation in Peru and across Latin America. ​

Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: Peru, Illegal Logging, sustainability

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