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Report Finds Peruvian Amazon Oversight Lacking
Although rainforests cover more than half of Peru, the government agency in charge of overseeing and protecting them is understaffed and ineffective, according to a report released late July by Defensoría del Pueblo, or the Ombudsperson's Office.
Peru is home to approximately 68 million hectares of the Amazon, and deforestation is responsible for over 40 percent of the countries greenhouse gas emissions. However, the government body charged with supervising this expanse has, on average, only three people per field station. One checkpoint only has seven officers verifying that the 1,000 to 7,000 logging trucks which pass by a month have all felled their cargo legally. Only one of the 38 field offices had a boat, even though water transportation is essential in the Amazon. The report also details a ten percent rise in aggression and intimidation witnessed by personnel.
Even though Peru has enacted legislation which requires a forestry management plan before granting logging and transport permits, false information and forged documents are rife on the ground. Iván Lanegra, an environment, public services and indigenous peoples official with the Ombudsperson's Office, notes "[o]ver the past few years the state has demonstrated its willingness to improve forestry laws and policies, but there are still problems with management on the ground and the lack of resources available to the offices in the field."
Moreover, indigenous communities face challenges in actually engaging in sustainable forest enterprises; while the Agriculture Ministry has issued nearly 150 communities permits to trade lumber, only eight groups have the right to use the forests in their territories.
The Ombudsperson's Office report is titled "La política forestal y la Amazonia Peruana: avances y obstáculos en el camino hacia la sostenibilidad" (Forestry Policy and the Peruvian Amazon: Progress and obstacles on the road to sustainability).
Read the full IPS article here.
Posted By Douglas Bojack at 4:11pm on August 03, 2010
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