Illegal logging

April 14, 2014

Illegal logging
 Logs passing through an Iquitos port. According to the new study, many of these giant logs may have come from unauthorized areas, including protected areas and indigenous territories, outside of legal concessions (photo: Matt Finer).

Dr. Matt Finer, ACA’s Research Specialist, is the lead author of a paper published on April 17th, 2014 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. 

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.” Read more about this topic in Newsweek or The Guardian»