Overlooked Deforestation Culprits in the Peruvian Amazon

Overlooked Deforestation Culprits in the Peruvian Amazon

Mike Dreckschmidt

The public institution Defender of the People accuses the state of not controlling the illegal cacao and palm oil plantations in Peru’s rainforest regions.

Between 2010 and 2014, 30,773 hectares of Amazonian forests were replaced by illegal palm oil and cocoa crops in the Loreto, Huí¡nuco, Ucayali and San Martí­n regions.

This is like 23 times the area of Peru’s national stadium in forest loss per day, El Comercio reports.

The public institution known as Defensoria del Pueblo, or Defender of the People, has stated that that the state has failed to do their part in control these activities. Consequently, the state is allowing a potentially profitable renewable resource to disappear in the unlawful operations. The expansion of palm and cocoa oil plantations has also generated social unrest revolving around the ownership of private lands and lands claimed by indigenous peoples.

The regional government of Ucayali has, for example, been granting land in favor of some companies without following the due process of investigation by the national forestry department to determine if the resources have a better potential use. The Defender of the People institution has, in their report, formally asked the National Executive Branch of Peru to step in and correct the situation.

What should the government do about illegal (or semi-illegal) cacao and palm oil plantations?

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