In a recent report released by Global Witness, ‘The forest Avengers’, the London-based organisation made staggering warnings about the continued and rapid deforestation of the Peruvian Amazon forest, despite commitments by the Peruvian government to tackle what it called the “widespread and systematic” problem of illegal logging.

Peru established the Organismo de Supervisión de los Recursos Forestales y de Fauna Silvestre, OSINFOR, as an independent forest watchdog, not linked to any ministry. According to Global Witness, OSINFOR “has succeeded in turning the spotlight on key methods of illegal loggers and the scale of their activity”. However, there are increasing signs that its oversight effectiveness is being weakened by its independence and powers being reduced. OSINFOR was in the Prime Minister’s Office, but has now been moved to the Environment Ministry.

According to Global Witness, impunity for forest crimes remains endemic, with logging companies finding creative and dubious ways to devastate the forest, including, passing illegal timber as legal, or laundering it; or by faking the locations of trees in official documents, while illegally cutting trees elsewhere.

Global Witness asks the Peruvian government to take urgent steps to improve their efforts in conserving the “globally important” rainforest, by, for instance, maintaining OSINFOR’s independence and enhancing its powers. It also asks international donors and international importers to make sure all timber comes from legal sources, to tackle this endemic problem. See also Global Witness’ press release here.