By Yvette Sierra Praeli; Translated By Romina Castagnino
13 February 2018

LIMA, Peru (Mongabay) – More than two years after a massive seizure of illegal timber sent from Peru to international markets in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the United States, much of Peru’s exported wood is still illegal according to a new report. The so-called Operation Amazonas seizure from the vessel the Yacu Kallpa in 2015 was found to be more than 90 percent illegal. An investigation by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) study released in February 2018 shows that a high percentage of the wood that leaves Peru continues to be illegal.

The documentation reviewed by the EIA – whose research was carried out in partnership with the Center for International Environmental Law – corresponds to the inspections carried out in 2015, done at random, by the Administration for Forestry and Wildlife of Lima, an office of the National Forestry and Wildlife Authority (or Serfor in Spanish) that has a control post in Callao, a key Peruvian port.

Data provided by the Serfor office in Callao and reviewed by the EIA reveals that only 16 percent of the shipment’s wood – which was part of a sample selected by the forest authority for verification – was of legal origin.

Another 17 percent corresponds to illegal logging and/or laundering of illegal timber, according to the EIA’s verification process of the origin sites carried out by the Agency for Supervision of Forest Resources (or Osinfor in Spanish).

Regarding the remaining 67 percent, it was not possible to determine the origin, either because the sites have not yet been verified by Osinfor or because sufficient information was not provided to verify the legality of the extraction site.

In essence, the origin of most of the wood that leaves Peru is unknown.

Julia Urrunaga, director of programs in Peru at the EIA, told Mongabay that the information analyzed demonstrates there is a problem.

“[It] clearly shows that there is a status quo that does not care about the legal status of the exported wood,” Urrunaga said. “It is a serious problem, especially since information about the high risk of the illegality of Peruvian timber has been available for a decade. Exporters, instead of taking concrete actions, continue to argue that the purchase of their wood is done in good faith. It is not a reasonable response from a sector that is expected to act responsibly.” […]

Illegal timber leaves the Amazon with false documentation. Photo: EIA

Urrunaga explained that to find the wood’s unknown origin, the EIA developed a system of risk categories based on previous verifications. From the evaluation of the 855 inspection reports, it was concluded that 44 percent had a high risk of being illegal wood, 20 percent had a medium risk, and only 36 percent had a low risk.

“Our analysis showed that two-thirds of the wood with unknown origin has a medium or high risk of illegality,” she said. […]

What worries Urrunaga most is the lack of information for the years 2016 and 2017. She explained that after the EIA repeatedly requested the inspection records of the last two years from Serfor, she received only 23 records from 2016. Serfor did not send any documents for 2017. […]

The public prosecutor’s office specializing in environmental crimes in the Ministry of Environment, Julio César Guzmán, said that there is no official data on the export of wood.

“There is no reputable study that indicates how much timber is illegally exported, and a percentage of it remains in the domestic market of Peru,” Guzmán said. “The Yacu Kallpa case left us with alarming figures, more than 90 percent of the wood found in those inspections was illegal; although we cannot generalize from a seizure, we have a deficit of information.” [more]

Moment of truth: Study reveals high percentage of illegal Peruvian timber exports

1 comments :

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