Logging Concessions Enable Illegal Logging Crisis in the Peruvian Amazon

Matt Finer, Clinton N. Jenkins, Melissa A. Blue Sky and Justin Pine
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Status of logging concessions in the Peruvian Amazon
Status of logging concessions in the Peruvian Amazon

The Peruvian Amazon is an important arena in global efforts to promote sustainable logging in the tropics. Despite recent efforts to achieve sustainability, such as provisions in the US–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, illegal logging continues to plague the region. We present evidence that Peru's legal logging concession system is enabling the widespread illegal logging via the regulatory documents designed to ensure sustainable logging. Analyzing official government data, we found that 68.3% of all concessions supervised by authorities were suspected of major violations. Of the 609 total concessions, nearly 30% have been cancelled for violations and we expect this percentage to increase as investigations continue. Moreover, the nature of the violations indicate that the permits associated with legal concessions are used to harvest trees in unauthorized areas, thus threatening all forested areas. Many of the violations pertain to the illegal extraction of CITES-listed timber species outside authorized areas. These findings highlight the need for additional reforms.

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