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Legality Risks Click for details on legality risks
  • Illegal logging is widespread and a high percentage of Peru’s timber exports are high-risk for illegal harvest.
  • Fraud and corruption are common and there is a risk that illegal timber is laundered into supply chains for all species.
  • Official documentation is therefore not, in and of itself, sufficient to guarantee the legal origin of timber sourced from the Amazon.
  • Despite several high-profile enforcement operations that revealed systemic fraud and illegal logging, enforcement is limited and Peru still lacks a system to track or verify back to the forest.
  • There have been attempts to weaken OSINFOR, the government agency charged with supervision and audit of the harvest and conservation of forest following industry pressure.
  • There have been several high-profile cases under the U.S. Lacey Act, and actions taken under the United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement highlighting that illegal timber from Peru is entering international markets. 
  • Violence and land grabbing of indigenous territories continues to be tied to illegal logging in Peru’s Amazon.

Read more by downloading the Peru Timber Legality Risk Dashboard here.

Latest Updates Click for latest news from Peru
May 6, 2024
What does Peru's 'anti-forest law' mean for the environment?

hanges to a key forestry law in Peru are opening up its Amazon rainforest – the second largest expanse after Brazil – to more deforestation for agriculture and making it easier for illicit industries like logging and mining to prosper, researchers warn.

Congress made changes to the Forest and Wildlife Law 31973 in December, which pardon all historical illegal deforestation of areas cleared for agriculture before January 2024 and undo any future legal constraints.

April 15, 2024
Assessment of Carbon Concessions in Permanent Production Forests in Peru

This report examines the context and performance of forest concessions in Permanent Production Forests in Peru, documenting their impact on the economy and reviewing the overall results of the concession system.

April 13, 2024
Future of the Most Versatile Food Oil May Lie in Latin America

Bloomberg reports on the growth of palm oil production in Latin America where new, highly traceable supply chains are being established as traditional palm oil giants Malaysia and Indonesia have run out of land for further expansion without deforestation.

April 4, 2024
Tropical forest loss puts 2030 zero-deforestation target further out of reach

The overall rate of primary forest loss across the tropics remained stubbornly high in 2023, putting the world well off track from its net-zero deforestation target by 2030, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute.


The few bright spots were Brazil and Colombia, where changes in political leadership helped drive down deforestation rates in the Amazon.


Elsewhere, however, several countries hit record-high rates of forest loss, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia and Laos, driven largely by agriculture, mining and fires.

April 4, 2024
The avocado on your toast may be the product of a crime

Criminal gangs are increasingly infiltrating legitimate business sectors such as trade, and importing more illegal products into the Netherlands, police research bureau Politie & Wetenschap has warned in its latest report.

The researchers found that the trade in avocados, plastic waste and timber are particularly prone to criminal infiltration and gangs earn money by circumventing local and international rules and regulations.


Parts of the avocado trade in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile are also being taken over by gangs, the report said. Extortion, theft from local avocado farmers, and illegal slash and burn practices to obtain more land to grow avocados are rife.

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March 19, 2024
Verdict Near in Emblematic Murder Trial in Peruvian Amazon

Environmental activists and indigenous communities in the Amazon are awaiting a verdict in the emblematic case of the Saweto murders, which has seen a decade-long search for justice become a test case for impunity for environmental crime in Peru.

February 7, 2024
Carving Up the Amazon How questionable companies bought and cleared vast tracts of the Peruvian Amazon with government complicity

New report by EIA highlights Peru’s Congress approved new legislation that legalized much of alleged unlawful deforestation by some of the companies featured in the report. As a result, EIA claims that tainted palm oil and cocoa produced by firms that operated for years with impunity may continue being traded to unwitting European and Peruvian consumers, setting a dangerous precedent risking more illegal Amazon clearance in the future.

January 31, 2024
UN expert warns that Peru’s forestry reform threatens Indigenous peoples’ rights

An amendment to Peru’s forestry law could legalize and encourage the dispossession of indigenous lands, warned the UN Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Calí Tzay.


Calí Tzay has also warned that certain provisions of the Land Classification Law would allow areas inhabited by Indigenous peoples that used to be forests but where agriculture is currently carried out to be automatically reclassified as “agricultural exclusion areas.”

November 3, 2023

Deforestation for illegal drug production is on the rise in and around Otishi National Park, Asháninka Communal Reserve and Machiguenga Communal Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon.


During aerial reconnaissance, Mongabay Latam reporters observed clearings, trails and unauthorized airstrips in the park and Indigenous reserves.

October 26, 2023
US ‘perfect playground’ for laundering money linked to environmental crimes, new report finds

The report by the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, published on Oct. 26,  said that “critical gaps” in the U.S. anti-money laundering system are vulnerable to exploitation by criminal groups, including those behind the destruction of the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.


FACT’s analysis focuses on forestry crimes and illegal mining in Peru and Colombia.  The report also summarizes how U.S. importers sidestep the law by not trading directly with the blacklisted Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) but instead with non-sanctioned Myanmar exporters and middlemen based in Singapore, Thailand and other third countries.

October 1, 2023
Dirty Money and the Destruction of the Amazon: Uncovering the U.S. Role in Illicit Financial Flows from Environmental Crimes in Peru and Colombia

The United States, as the world’s largest economy and premier supplier of financial secrecy, has a crucial role to play in denying financial safe haven to criminals that would degrade the Amazon. The FACT Coalition’s 100-plus members, including prominent environmental organizations, advocate for policies to combat the harmful impacts of corrupt financial practices.

FACT’s new report draws on interviews with local and regional activists, indigenous leaders, anti-money laundering experts, and government officials in Peru, Colombia, and the United States to show how financial secrecy contributes to facilitating these crimes. The report lays out a comprehensive U.S. reform agenda.

September 13, 2023
New Global Witness report: Standing firm The Land and Environmental Defenders on the frontlines of the climate crisis

For the past 11 years, Global Witness has documented and denounced waves of threats, violence and killings of land and environmental defenders across the world, and 2022 marks the beginning of our second decade documenting lethal attacks. The world has changed dramatically since we started documenting these in 2012. But one thing that has not changed is the relentlessness of the killings.

Last year, at least 177 defenders lost their lives for protecting our planet, bringing the total number of killings to 1,910 since 2012. At least 1,390 of these killings took place between the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 and 31 December 2022.

September 13, 2023
Latin America remains the deadliest region for environmental defenders

New Global Witness report shows nearly 90% of all environment-linked killings in 2022 were in the region, driven by land disputes, armed conflict and extractive industries.


Colombia was found to be the deadliest country in the world, with 60 deaths in total last year – more than a third of all killings globally. These figures come despite the country’s move in October 2022 to ratify the Escazú Agreement, a legally binding regional treaty to protect environmental defenders, and is almost double the number of killings reported in the country in 2021.


Other vulnerable countries in the region where Brazil, where 34 defenders lost their lives, compared to 26 in 2021, and Mexico, although the 31 murders recorded in the country last year were a drop from 54 in 2021, when it was the country with the highest number of killings. With 14 land- and environmental-linked murders recorded, Honduras was the country with the world’s highest per-capita killings. Mexico has ratified the Escazú Agreement, while Brazil is yet to do so, having only signed the treaty at its creation in September 2018; Honduras has neither signed nor ratified the agreement.

September 13, 2023
New Global Witness report: Standing firm The Land and Environmental Defenders on the frontlines of the climate crisis

For the past 11 years, Global Witness has documented and denounced waves of threats, violence and killings of land and environmental defenders across the world, and 2022 marks the beginning of our second decade documenting lethal attacks. The world has changed dramatically since we started documenting these in 2012. But one thing that has not changed is the relentlessness of the killings.

Last year, at least 177 defenders lost their lives for protecting our planet, bringing the total number of killings to 1,910 since 2012. At least 1,390 of these killings took place between the adoption of the Paris Agreement on 12 December 2015 and 31 December 2022.

August 10, 2023
Amazon nations decry EU deforestation rules in thinly-veiled joint condemnation

Amazon nations have attacked in a joint declaration the “proliferation” of environmental rules in trade, echoing a growing backlash against new EU deforestation requirements.

The final document does not single out the European law specifically, but it condemns “the proliferation of unilateral trade measures based on environmental requirements and norms which constitute trade barriers”.

August 9, 2023
Stolen Amazon: The Roots of Environmental Crime in the Tri-Border Regions

cross the more than 4,000 kilometers of border that divide Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, the gold mining rush has threatened the very existence of Indigenous communities and trampled on national parks. Illegal gold mining has soared to become the biggest destroyer of the rainforest, especially when supported by guerrilla groups, business owners, and political elites alike.


Meanwhile, on the border between Colombia, Peru, and Brazil, illegal logging and illicit crops are expanding as quickly as the loggers can tear down the trees. After promising jobs and training to Indigenous residents and gaining their trust, brokers become proxies for the forest management plans which these communities oversee. This allows them to launder illegal timber.


This five-part investigation traces the actors involved in environmental crimes and reveals the supply chains which support the looting of these border areas. To do so, InSight Crime has partnered with the Igarapé Institute, an independent thinktank located in Brazil that focuses on development, security, and climate issues.

August 8, 2023
Challenges and Opportunities in Protecting Amazon Tri-Border Regions

Scattered domestic laws and competing interests intersect in the tri-border regions of the Amazon. Commitments to protecting its wilderness change with new political administrations.

Outgoing Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching, and mining as part of an aggressive campaign to open the Amazon to more commercial development. President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula, has promised a complete reversal.


Former Colombian President Iván Duque (2018-2022) put environmental crime at the heart of his security policy, but then did little as deforestation soared. Colombia’s current president, Gustavo Petro, has called protecting the Amazon one of the pillars of his agenda.

August 8, 2023
Expanding Drug Trafficking on Peru’s Borders With Colombia and Brazil

The Amazon forest and watershed shared by Peru, Colombia, and Brazil provide ideal cover for coca cultivation and processing. As a result, a cocaine trafficking chain has emerged there — one that begins with coca grown in Peru. The criminal infrastructure created to feed this trade also protects and promotes environmental crimes, such as illegal deforestation, timber trafficking, and illegal gold mining. The remote areas have little state presence, and the dense forest canopy makes illicit activities and armed groups largely invisible.


The tri-border where Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela meet has continued to maintain its longstanding role as a transit corridor for cocaine. Though it’s not known as a drug production hub, the Venezuelan side may be seeing new coca cultivation.

August 8, 2023
Beneath the Surface of Timber Trafficking on the Peru-Colombia-Brazil Border

Illegal loggers have begun to migrate to Brazil’s northern Amazon. According to a 2019 study that looked at illegal logging in the Anauá National Forest, loggers and sawmills are relocating from the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso, Pará, and Rondônia to Roraima, on the border with Venezuela and Guyana. The region has come to be seen as a “new gold woodland,” thanks to the large swaths of forest, low cost of land, and few controls on deforestation and logging, the study authors wrote.

Illegal timber harvesting in the tri-border regions is most prevalent in the Amazon forests of Peru, where a multinational operation with many tentacles targets high-value hardwood species, such as spruce (Virola calophylla), tornillo (Cedrelinga catenaeformis), and cedar (Cedrela odorata). Trees are felled, transformed into planks, and eventually exported. The process includes legitimizing the timber through logging and transport permits, sawmills, and brokers before shipping it to regional capitals like Bogotá and Lima, or to international markets such as China.

August 8, 2023
Digging Into a Toxic Trade: Illegal Mining in Amazon Tri-Border Regions

On the Colombian and Venezuelan sides, mining activities and businesses that have sprung up around the sites are taxed by criminals, ranging from a few gunmen to factions of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs). The latter include the ex-FARC, made up of dissident groups of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC), which demobilized in 2017, and units from Colombia’s last remaining guerrilla force, the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN). Brazil’s most powerful mafia, the First Capital Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC), also appears to be making inroads into the illegal gold trade.

August 8, 2023
Environmental Crimes Plague Amazon’s Tri-Border Regions

Deep in the vast jungle of the Amazon, critical primary forests are being razed to mine gold, grow coca, and harvest timber.


Three rivers — the Caquetá (known in Brazil as the Japurá), the Putumayo, and the Amazon — and their many tributaries serve as arteries for this cross-border trafficking. The shared waterways are also highways for timber cut by illegal loggers, where gold dredges are operated by illegal miners.

August 7, 2023
Amazon nations summit faces fault lines on oil, deforestation

Eight Amazon rainforest nations are expected to face divisions over proposals to block new oil drilling and end deforestation when they meet on Tuesday for their first summit in 14 years.


At a pre-summit meeting last month, Colombian President Gustavo Petro pushed his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to block all new oil development in the Amazon. Brazil is weighing whether to develop a potentially huge offshore oil find near the mouth of the Amazon River.

August 6, 2023
How Drugs Are Destroying the Amazon

In the world’s largest rainforest, cocaine and deforestation are increasingly linked. Forest loss is being accelerated by a metastasis of organized crime, including a surge in cocaine production, trafficking, and consumption.

These criminal activities are supercharged by the increasingly sophisticated and powerful organizations that control the region’s production and trafficking of drugs. Put simply, drug traffickers are diversifying their portfolios into the nature crime business. As a result, large tracts of the Amazon Basin, especially in those countries controlling the largest share of the rainforest (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia—in that order), are wracked by an ecosystem of crime.

June 7, 2023
The geography of environmental degradation in the Amazon

Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.


Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.

May 25, 2023
PERU: Forest conservation efforts in Peru are failing across the board, CIFOR study says

Forest conservation initiatives in Peru in the past decades have had little to no effect, as deforestation continues to skyrocket in the country, according to a new study by the International Forestry Research Center, CIFOR.


Peru has attracted millions of dollars in forest conservation initiatives and has 254 public and private parks and protected areas, yet deforestation has been rising steadily since 2001 by more than 326,000 acres per year. In 2020, forest loss peaked, reaching 502,000 acres of tropical forest, the equivalent of 379 football fields.


CIFOR’s research includes a literature review of 17 studies evaluating the impact of conservation initiatives in the country over the years. REDD+ mechanisms consistently performed poorly, having the least effect both on forest cover and community economic situations.

Original CIFOR report: extension://elhekieabhbkpmcefcoobjddigjcaadp/

April 30, 2023
PERU: New digital tools to help identify legal origin of wood

With the technical assistance of the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) the regional governments of Madre de Dios, Loreto, Ucayali San Martín and the Central Forestry and Wildlife Technical Administration have developed digital tools that will help verify the legal origin of wood.


There are three applications that are part of the Control Module of the National Forest and Wildlife Information System (MC-SNIFFS), the Issuance and Registration of Forest Transport Guide, the Electronic Operations Books of Authorising Titles and the Electronic Operations Books of Primary Transformation Centers.


The new tools provide a means for recording information on the traceability of the wood from its origin, tracking the location and movement of forest products throughout the production chain in order to be able to corroborate the legal origin and promote competitiveness.

March 10, 2023
Corruption wastes almost 20% of the budget of the four regions in Peru

Government officials and other stakeholders react to news from the Office of the Auditor, which shows the amount of funds lost at the regional due to corruption, inclusive of illegal mining, illegal logging, and other illicit activities. 

February 27, 2023
China’s Latin American Gold Rush Is All About Clean Energy: Beijing’s not after gold—but lithium.

Some 60 percent of the world’s lithium reserves can be found in the so-called lithium triangle, a region that encompasses Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. It’s not just lithium either: Peru and Chile are the world’s two largest copper producers, while Brazil is home to 17 percent of all nickel reserves.


That has sparked a global scramble to tap the region’s wealth—one in which Chinese companies have an edge. Beyond lithium, Beijing has also struck deals for solar, wind, and hydroelectric projects across the region, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into solar parks in Argentina and Brazil as well as signing contracts for hydroelectric projects in Bolivia and Argentina.


Part of the allure of partnering with Beijing, experts say, is the very nature of Chinese deals. China has boasted about its no-strings-attached financing, with fewer economic and political conditions than Western lenders. “[Governments] know that they’re not going to get the same level of quality by partnering with Chinese companies, but they also will get fewer headaches, fewer regulations, fewer lessons on the environment, fewer complaints from [nongovernmental organizations],” Berg said.

June 3, 2022
Indiscriminate logging pushing giants of Peruvian Amazon to extinction

Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Jun 3 (EFE).- The towering, slow-growing, reddish-barked shihuahuaco, a giant tree found in the Peruvian Amazon, is on the verge of extinction from indiscriminate logging and high international demand for its hard, dense wood.

In Peru alone, estimates are that an average of 504 of these trees are being felled daily and that 80 percent of that activity is occurring in Madre de Dios, a rainforest-clad southeastern department that is regarded as the country’s biodiversity capital.

Tatiana Espinosa, a forestry engineer and director of the Arbio organization, which since 2010 has sought to protect more than 900 hectares (3.5 square miles) of Amazon rainforest in Madre de Dios’ Las Piedras River basin, provided those figures to Efe.

May 16, 2022
Free-deforestation agreement readies Peruvian cocoa for new European market regulations

Peru is the world’s ninth largest cocoa producer (roughly 71,175 tons/year) and the world’s largest organic cocoa producers, and it is now on a mission to develop a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025, making it ready for new European market regulations.

April 27, 2022
NGO denounces rise of corruption-fueled illegal economies in Peruvian Amazon

The deforestation of large swaths of the Peruvian Amazon not only deserves attention due to its environmental ramifications, according to the non-governmental organization Proetica. A study by that organization found that more than half of the environmental crime proceedings launched in the Andean nation between 2009 and 2021 corresponded to crimes against forests or forest formations, illegal trafficking of timber forest products and illegal mining. It also noted that these types of crimes have risen by nearly 50 percent since 2020.

March 14, 2022
Luxury wood market driving extinction of rare ipê trees, report warns

Demand for wood from ipê trees in the Amazon Basin could lead to their extinction if better international trade regulations aren’t implemented soon, according to a new report from Forest Trends. Ipê hardwood is in high demand in the luxury timber market, especially for outdoor boardwalks, decks and furniture, as well as hardwood floors.

February 22, 2022
Organized Crime Destroys Latin American Forests

Drug trafficking, illegal mining, and illegal logging in Latin America not only fuel violence, but also destroy the environment.

“There was record destruction of the Amazon in 2020, as the rainforest loss an area around the size of Belize, and the situation looks even bleaker in 2021,” Insight Crime, an organization that studies organized crime in Latin America, said in a December 2021 report.

January 30, 2022
The cracks of the world's largest timber certification company impact the Amazon

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labels are present on hundreds of forest products we consume daily, which claim to be legal in origin and sustainable. But their audit systems certifying their customers have shown flaws around the world, even in Latin America, where companies investigated for timber trafficking and exporting timber of illegal origin show their green label. Vices and problems of a control system traversed by millionaire interests. One of OjoPúblico journalistic teams investigates the issue in the Amazon and in Europe.

November 21, 2021
Standoff in a pandemic: Land grabbing versus protection of the Peruvian Amazon

Interventions designed to monitor and report environmental crimes (such as illegal logging and trafficking in protected species) are being undermined by shortcomings in the Peruvian state.

Communities affected by land grabbing face major challenges when reporting to authorities such as the police, attorney general, the ombudsman, or forest authorities. Reporting has become even tougher during the Covid pandemic.

November 10, 2021
Peru Governor Accused in China Wood Trafficking Network

A Peruvian governor is accused of playing a lead role in a timber trafficking network that involved Chinese logging businesses – in a case that provides further evidence of the growing involvement of Chinese actors in Peru’s illicit timber market.


October 12, 2021
Yacu Kallpa: Illegal Timber and Impunity in Peru

Six years after investigators in Peru took down a massive timber trafficking operation that shipped millions of dollars’ worth of illegal hardwood, more than 90 people have been indicted and a US importer has been forced to pay restitution.

This has been a small victory in the battle against illegal logging in Peru’s Amazon, but one unlikely to be repeated in a climate of increasing impunity.

Publications Click for publications related to Peru
Illegal logging is widespread and a high percentage of Peru’s timber exports are high-risk for illegal harvest. Fraud and corruption are common and there is a risk that illegal timber is laundered into supply chains for all species. Official documentation is therefore not, in and of itself, sufficient to guarantee the legal origin of timber […]
La demanda mundial de madera balsa se ha disparado en los últimos años, impulsada por el aumento de la demanda de energía eólica renovable a medida que el mundo intenta abandonar los combustibles fósiles. La madera balsa, blanda y ligera, es uno de los materiales preferidos para las aspas de las turbinas de viento. Los […]
Global demand for balsa wood has skyrocketed over the last several years, driven by rising demand for renewable wind energy as the world attempts to transition away from fossil fuels. Soft and lightweight, balsa wood is one of the preferred core materials for wind turbine blades. The volumes of balsa now traded on international markets […]
“Ipê,” the trade name for several high-value species in the Handroanthus, Tabebuia, and Roseodendron genera, is critically overexploited and at risk of extinction. Predominantly used in exterior decking and flooring, 85% of the demand for ipê comes from American, Canadian, and European markets. Over the last 30 years, ipê populations have severely declined, with at[…]
While subsistence agriculture and logging still contribute to deforestation, commercial-scale agricultural expansion is now recognized as by far the single largest driver of deforestation worldwide and thus also of greenhouse gas emissions from land-use change. Several initiatives have quantified how much and where deforestation is driven by commercial agriculture, and even how much of this […]
In the final quarter of 2019, the Peruvian Forest Service (SERFOR) published three new sets of “resoluciones ejecutivas” (executive resolutions) to improve tracking and controls in the forest supply chain. These enforceable directives laid out the documentation required to comply with the Peruvian Forest Law of 2011 and subsequent regulations (largely finalized in 2015). The […]
Key Resources
Click here for a collection of Forest Trends publications related to IDAT Risk, including the full set of Timber Legality Risk Country Dashboards.
Click here to download the Methodology which includes information on data sources, the methodology used to create risk indicators, and a glossary of key terms.
Data Tools

Click here to access the Global Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (ILAT) Risk assessment tool and to download the Forest Trends User Guide describing the functionality of the ILAT Risk Data Tool.

Click here to access the Cattle Data Tool.

Export Restrictions
Click here to download a database of forest policy export restrictions.