The economic and political conditions in Peru favor an increase in deforestation, despite the country having set a target of zero net deforestation by 2021, a new study shows.
“Peru is experiencing economic growth,” said Mary Menton of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), one of the lead authors of “The context of REDD+ in Peru: Drivers, agents and institutions” (published in Spanish), the latest in a series of occasional papers that gather and analyze extensive information on the political and economic conditions in forest-rich countries.
“Much of this growth is happening — and is likely to keep on happening — at the expense of the Peruvian Amazon.”
The REDD+ framework, which has been part of U.N. climate change negotiations since 2007, proposes that developing countries can reduce greenhouse gases by reducing deforestation and degradation of forests, conserving forests, increasing the number of trees planted, and promoting sustainable forest management and use.
Official figures put Peru’s forest cover at about 73 million hectares, equivalent to about 60 percent of its land area. The deforestation rate of 0.15 percent is relatively low, although deforestation accounts for almost half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“These historical deforestation rates do not reflect the effects of new and future interoceanic highways nor the recent agroindustrial expansion in the Amazon,” said Hugo Che Piu, lead author and president of Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR).
Although the Peruvian Ministry of Environment has announced in international forums its commitment to achieving zero net deforestation with its plan to conserve 54 million hectares of forest, these goals do not reflect the impacts of the current and planned activities driving economic growth, such as major road and energy infrastructure projects.
“If the government is really going to achieve zero net deforestation and reduce its emissions from land-use change, it must balance the demands for forest conservation and economic growth,” Menton said.
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