According to the FAO (FAO, 2015) Peru has around 74.0 million hectares of forested land, which constitutes to 57.8% of the total land area. Around 72.8 million hectares are primary or otherwise naturally regenerated forest and around 1.2 million hectares are planted forest. Most plantations are located outside the Amazon in the Andes, with the main commercial species being Eucalyptus globulus. By far the main forest category in Peru is humid rainforest in the Amazon, but there are also important areas of arid and semi-arid forests on the coasts and semi-humid forests in mountain and inner-mountain valleys (ITTO, 2011).
The estimated average annual deforestation in Peru is quite low (around 0.2%), while about one-third of the forest estate is degraded or secondary forest (FAO, 2015). The Ministry of Environment (MINAM) has an interesting website on deforestation, with specified data per province since the year 2000. This website indicates a loss of almost 1.5 million hectares of forests to other land use in 15 years. Present deforestation is about 150.000 hectares per year. Quoting the Peruvian government, ITTO (2011) identifies a range of direct causes of deforestation which include the development of new infrastructure such as highways; new settlements in the Amazon Basin, including the expansion of urban centres; the expansion of the agricultural frontier by clearing forest, including for cash crops and shifting cultivation; the expansion of oil exploitation and hydro-electric schemes; mining in the southern part of the Peruvian Amazon; illegal logging; and the illicit cultivation of coca. Indirect causes of deforestation include migration to the Amazon region; agricultural policies favouring cash-crop development; development policies that favour energy generation; and new investment opportunities due to globalization.
According to FAO (2015) around 82.5 percent of forested lands is publicly owned, covering the protected natural areas and the permanent production forests. Management rights of these areas is divided among public administration (67%), private companies (12%), and communities (21%). The remaining 17.5 percent of the forested lands in Peru is privately owned, primarily used by agricultural units, whether by indigenous communities, rural communities or private persons. However, tenure over a significant proportion of the Peruvian forest area is still disputed, particularly by indigenous people, due to problems with regard to land titling by the state.
Peru has around 18.8 million hectares of forested land designated as protected areas, which include national protected natural areas, regional protected areas and privately protected areas.
Production and export
According to ITTO (2017) the industry of Peru produced in 2015 about 1.3 million m3 of logs, almost all is consumed by the domestic market for further processing. Exports of primary timber products in 2015 was dominated by exports of sawn wood. Total export value in 2015 was around 67 million US dollars.
There are about 250 sawmills in Peru, most of which have a small installed capacity (averaging 2900 m3 per year). According to local sources (Customs Peru, SUNAT), there are many more sawmills. Only about 25% of sawmills have band-saws and a capacity of 10.000 m3 per year or more (ITTO, 2011). According to local sources (Customs Peru, SUNAT), there are many more sawmills. Solid timber exports are dominated by tropical sawn hardwood and mouldings together with small volumes of plywood.
In Peru it is not permitted to export logs from natural forests, but Peru has never evolved an internationally competitive wood manufacturing sector and exports of value added products such as wood furniture have remained at low levels (Oliver, 2013). As can be observed from the graph below the largest markets for Peruvian wood product exports are China, Mexico and the United States of America, although other countries in South America and the EU are also important export markets.
By far most sawn timber is produced in the Peruvian Amazon regions Loreto, Madres de Dios, Ucayali and Junin (MINAGRI - SERFOR 2016).
By far the largest areas under concession are located in the administrative regions of Madre de Dios, Loreto and Ucayali, which are located in the north-eastern Amazonian region of the country. The Madre de Dios region has most FSC certified concessions.
In these remote areas transportation of timber from the Amazonian forests is done by rivers (EIA, 2012). In many cases the timber from the Amazon rainforest is transported to the Port of Iquitos and the Port of Callao or Pucallpa or downstream from the Amazon River to Macapá in Brazil where it is shipped to Mexico and the U.S. (EIA, 2012).
Sources of information
- Customs Peru
- Environmental Investigation Agency (2012) The Laundering Machine. How fraud and corruption in Peru’s concession system are destroying the future of its forests.
- FAO (2015) Global Forest Resources Assessment
- Fordaq - timber trade network
- ITTO (2011) Status of tropical forest management 2011 - Peru
- ITTO (2015) Biennial review and assessment of the world timber situation
- MINAGRI (2014) Perú forestal en números 2013. Dirección General Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre
- Oliver, R. (2013) Evaluation and scoping of EU timber importers and imports from South America. TRAFFIC International
- TRAFFIC – FLEGT briefing paper on timber trade in Peru.
- World Port Source - Map of ports in Peru
In Peru SERFOR (Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre) the National Forestry and Wildlife Authority working under the ministry of agriculture and irrigation (MINAGRI - Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego) is responsible for the sustainable management of forests and wildlife resources in the country.
On the 30th of September 2015 a new Forestry law (No. 29763) including its four related regulations came into force. Forest management legislation has changed considerably by this law. Besides adjustment of the old law, new regulations for management of forest plantations and agroforestry systems were added, as well as regulations for the management of forests belonging to the territories of indigenous and rural communities.
By 2019 sectorial functions of SERFOR have been decentralized to regional forestry and wildlife offices (ARFFS - Autoridad Regional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre) in the 9 Peruvian regions San Martín, Loreto, Ucayali, Madre de Dios, Amazonas, La Libertad, Tumbes, Ayacucho y Huánuco. ARFFS is now the planning and controlling authority of forest and wildlife resources in their jurisdiction. In the remaining 16 regions local SERFOR offices remain active (ATFFS-Administraciones Técnicas Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre).
SERFOR is developing the SNIFFS (National Forestry and Wildlife Information System). This system is being implemented step by step and is meant to provide resources and information to enhance better decision making by national and regional public authorities, by the private sector, and by civil society organizations related to forestry and wildlife activities. The SNIFFS systems is composed of 6 modules and 4 operational components of which the MC-SNIFFS module covers all relevant issues around control of forest management including legal origin of harvested timber. This module will be fully operational by 2021. (See also section below: national action on timber legality).
The independent state agency responsible for the supervision of the correct implementation of the management of natural resources and wildlife is OSINFOR (Organismo de Supervisión de los Recursos Forestales y de Fauna Silvestre). This agency indirectly also supervises the functioning of the ARFFS and ATFFS.
All natural forest in the country has been grouped according to a national forest land use classification. Timber harvesting rights are granted for permanent production forests on public domain through a forest concessions system, and for private or community forest holdings through harvesting permits or harvesting authorizations.
Forest concessions are issued for a 40 years period (renewable) through a tender procedure. Harvesting permits and authorizations are issued on a one to 5 year basis, both upon request.
Concessionaires are required to develop and implement a General Forest Management Plan (Plan General de Manejo Forestal: PGMF) which needs to be approved by the ARFFS. The PGMF provides the overall framework for strategic planning for the duration of the concession. A five year implementation and business plan completes the document.
ARFFS is the regional authority granting concessions and approving forest management plans, permits and authorizations for timber harvesting and authorizations for forest conversion (forest clearing). ARFFS nowadays is usually located in the office of ARA (Regional Environment Authority) or GERFOR (Regional Forest and Wildlife Development office).
Since 2017 and on behalf of the environmental ministry, FEMA (Fiscaliá Especializada en Materia Ambiental) operates at the regional level as the inspection and controlling authority for environmental crime and timber legality matters, say as the local “forest police”.
Harvesting fees for timber concessions are paid annually based on both total size of the forest concession and actual timber volume harvested. For harvesting permits and harvesting authorizations, where less volume is harvested special rates apply. Timber exporting companies can receive an incentive of 4% of the timber value according to the “draw back” system.
For planning purposes a timber concession is normally sub-divided into 20 harvesting units in line with a 20 year rotation system. These units can be utilized for logging during any one year and are known as an Annual Cutting Area (in Spanish: Parcela de Corta Anual - PCA). If a timber concession measures 20.000 hectares, one PCA is 1.000 hectares. This PCA may yield a forest company 5.000 m3 round wood (per year) if the annual allowable cut (AAC) is defined at 5 m3 per hectare.
The concessionaire must submit an Operational Plan (Plan Operativo - PO), covering the PCA, for review and approval by ARFFS. This plan specifies the details of the annual harvest and includes a species and volume list and a map with the location of trees to be extracted, based on the forest inventory and forest census. As of March 2, 2020 forest concessionaires are obliged to keep an online Registry of Forest Operations and Timber Harvesting (Libro de Operaciones de los Titulos Habilitantes para Aprovechamiento Forestal Maderable) documenting the details of log operations (in 6 steps) from tree felling to final transport of logs form the forest. This document is the start of a nationwide online timber traceability system to be centrally managed and fully operational by 2021 which will enhance verification of legal origin. Software used by many concessionaires for this purpose is called DataBosque which is available free.
The Administrative Resolution (Resolución Administrativa or Resolución Jefatural) is the only official document of approval of the operational plan by ARFFS.
Due to technical and climate reasons normally not all allowable cut is harvested from the PCA in one year. In this case the forest company may “re-enter”, continue their operations, in the PCA in the next year in line with what is stated in the PO.
Post- harvest field inspections of selected timber concessions is implemented by OSINFOR and is carried out in order to check whether the transported and sold timber really originated from the annual cutting area as was stated in the PO, thus whether the concessionaire has acted in a legal and responsible fashion.
OSINFOR publishes the results of these supervision inspections on their website. These documents are made available to the public through the SIGO-Observatory (see also section Key Documents). Annual cutting areas with no observation appear in the SIGO-Green section and this timber can be procured without major risk of illegality. Instead timber from annual cutting areas with observations appear in the SIGO-Red section. Procuring timber from these areas implies risks of illegality.
It should be mentioned that OSINFORs supervisions cannot cover all concessions in time before the end of the harvesting year. In order to avoid legality issues, some timber exporters that manage timber concessions request OSINFOR to implement a post-harvest, but pre-transport inspection (forest to plant) of their PCA. In this way the timber exporter can always present a SIGO-green declaration to its client, if asked for.
Peruvian law requires forest companies to provide personal safety equipment to employees working in the forest. Employees with a permanent contract should receive minimum wage and have a health insurance.
Forest concession in Peru have been planned in the past at reasonable distances from indigenous or rural communities. During the last decade more and more indigenous communities have gained land titles for their ancestral lands. In some casees this has led to an overlap in land titles with production foreset issued as timber concessions, which subsequentially leads to legal cases. Only FSC certified forest companies develop a protocol on management of possible future conflicts with indigenous and/or neighbouring communities.
Each time a concessionaire removes timber from his concession, it must be accompanied by a document known as the Forest Transport Permit (Guía de Transporte Forestal - GTF) accompanied by a Log List (Lista de trozas) specifying place of origin, owner, destination, transporter and finally number, species and volume of the logs, all in one single document. (See section on Key Documents).
Forest Transport Permits are prepared by concessionaires on official formats provided though a web application. Since 2019 both local forest authorities as well as forest regents in the country are being trained to use this application. Only registered Forest Transport Permits (on-line approval by the regional forest authority) are valid. At checkpoints police and forest authorities will verify these documents and check whether its content coincides with the load or shipment. The use of mobile QR code and Bar code scanners facilitates rapid processing at these checkpoints.
Through the information from the GTF, the ARFFS monitors the cumulative volumes of timber extracted from a concession in a document known as the Extraction Balance (Balance de Extracción). Any excess timber harvested or deviations in timber species will be noted and immediately fined.
Sawing mills receiving the timber need to record their inputs and outputs in an online Timber Processing Operations Registry (Libro de Operaciones de Transformación Primaria de Productos y Subproductos Forestales Maderables) as of august 2020. A batch of their outputs is transported again accompanied by a GTF indicating origin, destination and product volumes. This processing facility need to be legally established, which is demonstrated by an authorization of establishment as processing plant (Autorización para establecimiento de plantas de transformación).
Facilities storing and commercializing processed timber afterwards need also to be legally registered, which can be demonstrated with an Autorización para funcionamiento de depósito y establecimiento commercial issued by ARFFS.
Timber exporters need to comply with a set of rules and need to obtain a number of documents and which will be issued by various authorities. See the key documents section for more details on export requirements.
- ADEX: Association of Exporters
- ARFFS: Regional Forest and Wildlife Authority in Peru
- CCL: Lima Chamber of Commerce
- OSINFOR: Supervisory Body for Forest and Wildlife Resources
- SENASA: National Agricultural Safety Service
- SERFOR: National Forest and Wildlife Authority in Peru
- SNI: National Association of Timber Processing Plants
- SUNAT: Peruvian Tax and Customs Administration
It shall be noted that with the exception of the Management Statement all harvesting planning documents have to be written and signed by an officially licensed and registered forest expert called “forest regent” (“regente forestal”). Usually this person is also responsible for foreset operations.
Processing and trade
Bans and quota
Export of forest products “in their natural state” is prohibited in Peru since 1972 except when they originate from nurseries or forest plantations and do not require further processing for final consumption.
Cites and protected species
The following species from Peru is listed on CITES Appendix I:
- Monteromero / Pino blanco (Podocarpus parlatorei). Other names: Manio, Pino del cerro, Pino montano, Pinoholzbaum, White pine, Yellowwood, Brown Pine, Black Pine. A conifer species that cannot ordinarily be traded in international commerce. This tree is more common in Argentina and Bolivia than in Peru. Therefore, it is a species not registered in Peru (MINAM 2011).
The following species from Peru are listed on CITES Appendix II:
- Bigleaf mahogany / Caoba (Swietenia macrophylla); where the trade in logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets and plywood is restricted
- American mahogany / Caoba (Swietenia mahagoni); where the trade in logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets is restricted.
- Brazilian rosewood / Palo de rosa (Aniba rosaeodora); where the trade in logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, plywood and extracts is restricted. Finished products containing such extracts as ingredients, including fragrances, are not considered to be covered by this annotation.
The following species from Peru are listed on CITES Appendix III:
- Spanish cedar / Cedro (Cedrela odorata; Cedrelo angustifolia; Cedrelo fissilis); where the trade in logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets is restricted.
National action on timber legality
Peru is currently not negotiating or having a VPA with the EU.
The intense and above all drastic field work during the last years of OSINFOR (state agency responsible for the supervising the correct implementation of the management of natural resources and wild life) has resulted in numerous observations, fines, and also closures of forest concessions and revoking of harvesting contracts, making concessionaires and private and communal forest managers more careful in the way they plan and implement forest management.
In cooperation with the international Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), operations have been organized among mayor sawmills and processing plants in all forest regions of the country, resulting in confiscations of hundreds of cubic meters of supposedly illegal timber meant for export. In the end of 2015 even timber was confiscated on board of a vessel in the Iquitos port, which was ready to set sail to the United Stated.
Many discussions have followed on the real legality of this timber that officially had all required export documents. The issue of the discrepancy between legal timber and so-called “legalized timber” kept national and international press busy for months. The result is that Peru internationally got the name as a country with high risk for timber sourcing, which has seriously affected the Peruvian forest sector as can be seen by the stagnant data on timber export volumes since the last years.
Since then a lot of effort is put in by the same government on making the timber traceability more complete and above all more transparent. The 2016 new forest law foresees registration of timber in the forest at the tree level through a unique national code system. This code will accompany the log from the forest until and after processing to guarantee full traceability.
During the Lima COP 20 in December 2014 an important initiative, called “Pacto Nacional por la Madera Legal” (National Pact for Legal Timber), was started. Through this initiative key players as private companies, civil society and different government ministries joined forces to promote the trade and use of legal (verified) timber. The final objective of this pact is to secure that all timber produced for national commercial purposes will be of legal origin.
Since then progress has been made through the elaboration of a “Verification Protocol” (Protocolo de Verificación). This is a tool that assures the objectivity of the minimum standards to adherence to the Pact. Through this protocol some Lima based construction companies realized the importance of procuring timber from known sources. Some signed purchase contracts with larger FSC certified companies.
Another related initiative is “Forest Plan” or “Plan Selva” from the Education Ministry (MINEDU) through the National Education Infrastructure Programme (PRONIED). Through the coordination with different authorities this initiative applied the use of strict criteria in procuring timber of legal sources for the annual construction campaign of school furniture.
In May 2020 the Forest Authority of Peru announced completion of the update of its Control Module of the National Forest and Wildlife Information System (MC-SNIFFS), which is seen as an important step in the development of an on-line system that will record information along the timber production chain, from the forest to the commercialization in the market. This system is estimated to be up and running in 2021 and will contribute to prove the legal origin of Peruvian timber in both domestic and international markets.
Third party certification
There are currently 1’050’425 hectares (11 companies) of the Peruvian permanent production forests certified under an FSC-FM certificate, this includes 213 ha FM-certified plantation forests. FSC is currently the only third party scheme with valid certificates in Peru. Since 2017 FSC-Controlled Wood is being practiced by Peruvian timber producers, resulting in currently 36’924 hectares of Peruvian permanent production forests with FSC-CW certificate (FSC Peru Datos y Cifras, April 2020).
Sources of information
- CITES database
- Environmental Investigation Agency (2012) The Laundering Machine
- Environmental Investigation Agency (2018) The Moment of Truth
- Forest Legality Initiative - Country profile – Peru.
- FLEGT profile Peru
- FSC - “Facts & Figures”
- SERFOR - National Pact for legal timber
- NEPCon (2018) Peru Timber Risk Profile
- Peru - Manual de Legislación Ambiental
- SERFOR - National Forestry and Wildlife Service
- SERFOR Resolución de Dirección Ejecutiva Nº264 -2019 (Operations registry for Forest concesionaires)
- SERFOR Resolución de Dirección Ejecutiva Nº265 -2019 (Operations registry for timber processing)
- World Resources Institute (2014) Building national forest and land-use information systems: lessons from Cameroon, Indonesia and Peru.
Av. Alameda del Corregidor Nº155 - La Molina
Magdalena del Mar
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Source: Transparancy International