Officials estimate that nearly 80 percent of Peru’s timber exports are harvested illegally. Often, this takes place on the lands of local populations where indigenous residents are not only intimidated, but sometimes killed.
Indigenous groups fight Illegal logging in PeruIn Peru, officials estimate that nearly 80 percent of the country’s timber exports are harvested illegally. Often this takes place on the lands of local populations where indigenous residents are not only intimidated, but sometimes killed.
Legally-harvested trees in pre-approved areas are marked by GPS as acceptable to fell. Illegal loggers ignore these stipulations, leading to an increase in deforestation of the Amazon rain forest.
Edwin Chota, Jorge Rios, Leonocio Quintisma, and Francisco Piñedo were leaders of indigenous tribes that were murdered for their activism in combatting illegal logging. Three were leaders of the Ashaninka tribe, whose lands intersected with a logging concession. Egilia Rengifo, the widow of Jorge Rios, believes the logging companies and the local government are colluding to prevent the tribe from getting the proper title to its land.
The threat of harm makes it nearly impossible for inspectors to do their jobs. When Americas Now correspondent Dan Collyns went to a logging concession to see how inspections work, he had to take a canoe up a river and hike for five hours before arriving at the camp. Collyns was chased off the area one night due to threats from a Colombian gang that runs the logging concession and also uses the area to grow coca, the plant that produces cocaine.
Some companies are operating legally. Greengold Forestry runs the only company in Peru certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, which makes their methods the most environmentally sustainable possible. They’ve had a tough start, but they believe that in the future the market will demand legal and sustainable logging.