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Investigating illegal logging and deforestation, advocating for enforcement of laws and policies to protect forests, and supporting communities to manage and monitor their forest resources.

Globally important forests under threat

Home to the second largest portion of Amazon rainforest and the third largest expanse of tropical forests on the planet, after Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru’s rich forests make it one of the top ten biodiverse countries on the planet. More than 60% of Peruvian territory is covered by the Amazon rainforest, but deforestation occurs on up to 269,000 hectares every year.

Corruption and illegality in the forest sector, growing resource extraction in the Amazon, and the expansion of industrial commodity crops are destroying Peru’s forests and threatening the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Illegal logging continues to run rampant, and estimates suggest that 80% of all timber production in Peru is illegally harvested.

Opportunities to reform forest governance

National and international events and agreements, such as the United States-Peru Trade Partnership Agreement and its Annex on Forest Sector Governance; new demand-side measures to promote legal trade in the U.S., Peru’s primary market for high-value timber; a multi-lateral agreement on forest governance between Peru, Germany and Norway; and Peru’s hosting of the UNFCCC annual climate change conference in 2014 have converged to open a window of opportunity for civil society, Indigenous communities and the government to work together to reform and implement key forest policies.

Nearly 1,200 Indigenous communities have land title over traditional territory in the Peruvian Amazon, however, Indigenous claims for an additional 20 million hectares of ancestral lands have yet to be resolved by the Peruvian government.

Exposing forest crimes and supporting civil society

EIA investigates illegality, corruption, and human rights abuses in Peru’s forest sector. In 2012, EIA released The Laundering Machine, which documented for the first time the systematic fraud and corruption that dominates the sectors. The report details how corrupt officials and concessionaires extract, transport and export timber to global markets by generating documents based on false forest inventories and annual operating plans. More recently, EIA’s 2015 report, Deforestation by Definition, documents the legal loopholes that national and international investors use to access and clear-cut forested land for oil palm cultivation in Peru, and the international financial mechanisms they use to support these projects.

EIA Partners in Peru

Digital Democracy

Digital Democracy is a U.S-based organization working with EIA in Peru to develop digital tools to support forest monitoring in the Peruvian Amazon. Digital Democracy supports marginalized communities to use technology, to defend their rights.

Associación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana

AIDESEP is the largest Indigenous organization representing Indigenous communities from the Peruvian Amazon. EIA works with AIDESEP to advance improved forest policies, promote land titling for Indigenous communities and to strengthen and expand AIDESEP’s Forest Monitoring program (Veeduría Forestal) and secure media coverage of environmental degradation in their communities.

Eco Redd

Eco Redd is a Peruvian organization consisting of multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, advocate, lawyers, and forestry professionals. Eco Redd promotes sustainable development, and environmental management with special attention to biodiversity and environmental services. Eco Redd advocates for social and environmental rights. EIA and Eco Redd work together with AIDESEP to strengthen and expand AIDESEP’s Forest Monitoring Program.

Objectives

  • Expose forest crime in high-risk illegal timber supply chains

  • Advocate for enforcement of the U.S. Lacey Act as a method to close significant markets for illegally harvested and traded timber from Peru, as a way to support Peru’s legal timber industry.

  • Promote implementation and enforcement of the U.S-Peru FTA annex on Forest Sector Governance

  • Support Peruvian initiatives and institutions to increase legality in the forest sector

  • Train Indigenous communities to monitor their forest resources, document illegalities in the forest sector, and strengthen community management of forest resources

  • Expose and prevent illegal forest conversion for industrial agriculture, and advocate to close regulatory loopholes that companies exploit to deforest for large-scale agriculture

Impacts

  • EIA was the first organization to document the systematic export and import of illegal wood from Peru to the United States in the 2012 report “The Laundering Machine”

  • Through local partners, EIA has supported training for more than more than 200

  • EIA played a key role in ensuring U.S.-Peru trade policy includes provisions to protect forest resources and allocates resources to strengthen forest governance

  • EIA’s 2012 petition to the U.S. Trade Representative laid out the steps necessary for U.S. officials to identify illegal timber shipments from Peru

  • EIA has been supporting Peruvian governmental institutions that are fighting the trade of illegally logged timber.

Recent Blog Posts

Respaldo de Sociedad Civil a Defensora Ambiental en Perú
03/26/2021
60 instituciones y miembros de la sociedad civil y organizaciones indígenas en Perú emitieron hoy un comunicado respaldando a la Defensora Ambiental Lucila Pautrat ante los ataques que viene recibiendo de parte de una empresa investigada por la instalación no autorizada de monocultivos agroindustriales en Tamshiyacu, en la Amazonía peruana.
Escazu Agreement Offers Hope but is Only the Beginning
02/23/2021
2020 was a terrible year across the globe, but particularly for Latin America’s environmental defenders. After record numbers of murders in 2019, the perils for environmental and human rights defenders did not decline in 2020. In fact, these threats remained high and even increased during the pandemic, as illegal loggers, miners, and other land grabbers had free reign to encroach upon remote communities. And this time, the intruders brought with them the deadly coronavirus.

Recent Press Releases

ORAU Statement on the murders of two indigenous Cacataibo leaders in Peru
03/03/2021
EIA joins ORAU in expressing outrage at the murders of human rights defenders who are protecting the Amazon region and their communities, and echoes ORAU’s calls for urgent and immediate actions. Here is an EIA-translated version in English of ORAU’s original letter in Spanish.
Peru Issues 35 Million Dollar Fine, Orders Plantation Company to Leave the Amazon
11/02/2020
Peru Issues 35 Million Dollar Fine, Orders Plantation Company to Leave the Amazon