The Peruvian Amazon is the second-largest swath of the Amazon, behind Brazil. This huge tropical forest, located in the western region of the country, spans over 60 million hectares and accounts for more than 60% of Peru’s total land area. Including over 12,810 species of an exceptionally diverse array of plant and animal life, including thousands of species of trees, animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Many of these species are found nowhere else on the planet. The Peruvian rainforest contains so much biodiversity that studies now reveal that the eco-cost of a square meter in Peru equals 6 euros (6/m2). This is due to the abundance of species and the intrinsic value of the land in terms of gold, oil, tree resources, and so on.
The Peruvian Amazon is particularly critical in the worldwide fight against climate change since it contains nearly 49 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalents, making it one of our planet’s most important carbon repositories. Hundreds of indigenous groups rely completely on this land for survival. However, the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is under threat from illegal logging, mining, and oil and gas extraction, which endangers the forest’s biodiversity and the indigenous residents’ way of life. While the Brazilian Amazon rainforest receives far more attention, the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is on the verge of collapse due to the ecosystem of crime that has assaulted this rainforest and the biodiversity it encompasses, as well as the indigenous communities that have lived there for hundreds of years.
How bad is deforestation affecting the Peruvian Amazon rainforest?
The Peruvian Amazon is a resource-filled forest that is being plucked at an alarming rate; currently, Peru ranks 6th with the world’s highest primary forest loss, with a recent spike in deforestation claiming over 200,000 hectares of healthy rainforest land in 2020, in comparison to 2017–2019, which saw around 150,000 hectares deforested yearly. So far, Peru has lost more than 26,000 square kilometers of rainforest since 2001, an area bigger than the size of Ecuador.
Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is caused by a variety of factors, including illegal logging, agriculture, mining, and oil and gas development, all of which contribute to climate change, which in turn has led to deforestation. Some of the three main causes of deforestation in Peru are highlighted below.
Illegal Operations and Land Trafficking
The Peruvian Amazon is home to several illegal operations that are expanding at an alarming and unprecedented rate. This forest filled with natural resources such as timber, gold, oil, petroleum, and coca (raw material for producing cocaine) has attracted pilferers of all sorts engaging in illegal activities such as mining, tree logging, land trafficking, drug trafficking, and then the creation of illegal roads and airstrips to export these items out of the country. These activities are often carried out by criminal groups that operate outside the law, using the corruption in the nation of Peru to clear large areas of the forest without detection or consequence.
Climate change is a key contributor to deforestation in Peru’s Amazon. Global warming and shifting weather patterns can render forests more prone to fires, pests, and diseases, thus leading to further deforestation. Rising temperatures can also alter the distribution of species inside the forest, causing changes in the structure and composition of the forest. Drought conditions caused by climate change can also render the forest more vulnerable to fires; in 2016, wildfires claimed over 20,000 hectares of land in that region, displacing indigenous populations and killing wildlife and biodiversity. Overall, climate change has the potential to negatively affect the health and integrity of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, adding to deforestation.
Agriculture is a major cause of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. To accommodate increasing international demand, agricultural lands have been expanded, mainly for the production of products like soybeans, palm oil, and coca. This has resulted in the clearance of significant sections of forest. This is especially evident in the Ucayali region, where agricultural expansion is being pushed by rising global demand for these products. This has also increased land trafficking in Peru, where improper land titling has resulted in the devastation of vast expanses of rainforest that should be protected by law.
Small-scale farmers also contribute to deforestation by clearing land for farming with slash-and-burn tactics, resulting in the loss of forest cover and the destruction of biodiversity. The region’s lack of effective land-use planning and zoning legislation, combined with lax law enforcement, allows for the conversion of forest lands to agricultural use with no consequences.
The majority of these illegal operations are funded and carried out by large corporations in various sectors, such as Peru’s lumber, coca, palm oil, and mining industries, which are at the heart of these deforestations. They meet both domestic and international demand for these products while carefully avoiding environmental violations through the use of shell firms, record manipulation, and other criminal tactics. These companies work with entrepreneurial criminal networks that exploit the countries’ economic situation to hire cheap labor for chopping and burning trees and illegally planting coca plants. All these activities are taking place at a scale that is fast consuming the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, eliminating natural ecosystems and biodiverse species, and leaving nothing in their aftermath.
FUND THE PLANET is helping to protect the Peruvian Amazon.
The Peruvian Amazon rainforest is an important part of the planet, and it plays a complex role in our very survival. These trees matured over thousands of years, and it would be hard to reproduce in this ecosystem. FUND THE PLANET is taking action to safeguard the Peruvian Amazon rainforest by directly purchasing these endangered rainforests, protecting them from deforestation, and developing an inclusive system that anyone, anywhere in the world, can use blockchain technology to help save these rainforests.
By working closely with the local community in Sarayacu, Peru, FUND THE PLANET can provide a superior and sustainable alternative to landowners in that rainforest region. This is vital largely because rainforest landowners have limited opportunities when it comes to monetizing these forests other than selling them to companies that eventually clear these lands for mining, agriculture, and some of those above environmentally unsustainable activities that have led to its continued deforestation. FUND THE PLANET plays two important roles: we not only purchase these rainforests but are also completely responsible for their protection, ensuring these areas remain intact and maintain their ancient magnificence and beauty, preserving their endangered biodiversity.
FUND THE PLANET is on a mission to protect and conserve the Amazon rainforest and its natural ecosystems. We provide a trackable and sustainable environmental solution that enables people from around the world to adopt and protect endangered rainforests. You can play a part in preventing the collapse of the Amazon Forest and the fight against climate change by Rescuing a Rainforest Plot Today. You can also visit the Rainforest Explorer to view our rainforest conservation efforts in real time.