ACA Staff Report Demonstrates Illegal Logging Rampant in Peru
April 21, 2014
Dr. Matt Finer, ACA’s Research Specialist, is the lead author of a paper published yesterday in Scientific Reports, an open access, peer-reviewed journal affiliated with Nature. Focused on logging in Peru, the paper analyzes 609 logging concessions with data obtained from OSINFOR, the supervisory body in Peru that oversees post-logging inspections. Finer, along with colleagues representing the Center for International Environmental Law and the Instituto de Pequisas Ecologicas, found that 68% of officially inspected concessions are either cancelled or under investigation for major violations of Peru’s forestry laws. (Sound familiar? Newsweek and The Guardian have published articles reporting on this study.)
Each logging concession represents a 40-year lease to officially manage public land for timber use. Reasons for cancelling logging concessions include timber extraction outside of concession limits, extraction or transport of illegal timber, non-compliance with management, and submission of false information; often, as this paper describes, OSINFOR discovered no stumps where legally sanctioned logging was to have taken place.
“Our new study presents evidence that the illegal logging concession system is in reality enabling an illegal logging crisis in the Peruvian Amazon despite important reform efforts,” says Finer. “As a consequence, logging is not contained to concessions, and instead it threatens all forested lands, including protected areas and indigenous territories.” But another key finding is that OSINFOR’s regulatory work is critically important to improving the concession system. Finer adds, “OSINFOR deserves additional support, not less, as the office is increasingly criticized by loggers whose concessions have been canceled.”
Featured photo: Dr. Matt Finer standing beside a felled tree in Peru. According to the new study, much of this timber may have come from unauthorized areas, including protected areas and indigenous territories outside of legal concessions. (Credit: Clinton Jenkins)