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Peru

More than 60% of the Peru’s territory is covered by the Amazon rainforest, making it the fourth country with the largest area of rainforest cover in the world. The Peruvian Amazonian forests are home to over 300,000 indigenous people who depend on it for the livelihoods.

About Peru
Continent: South America
Size of rainforest: 72 million hectares
Rate of deforestation: 0.4% per year
Main indigenous forest peoples: Ashaninka, Awahun, Chayahuita, Quechua, Shipibo
Main threat to rainforest: MMining, oil extraction, logging, migrant farmers, infrastructure development
GDP per capita: $5,172 USD
Size of country: 1,285,000 square km
Population: 28.2 million
Child in Peru

More than 60% of Peru’s territory is covered by the Amazon rainforest, making it the fourth country with the largest area of rainforest cover in the world.

 

The Peruvian Amazon provides invaluable natural resources, water, food and natural medicines; it is one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world; and it plays a crucial role stabilising global climate. These forests are also home to more than 300,000 indigenous people, whose livelihoods and sustenance depend on forest resources.

 

However, large areas of rainforests are either being destroyed every year, or conceded for oil exploration and extraction, mining, logging or infrastructure. As a consequence, as much as 47% of Peru’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to deforestation.

 

For the last decade, the Peruvian economy has experienced high growth rates, as well as macroeconomic stability, and the national poverty rate has been significantly reduced. However, economic dynamism and its benefits have largely concentrated on the coastal region of the country, and substantial income inequality persists. Also, the economy is highly dependent on natural resource extraction - particularly of minerals, gas and petroleum - which is frequently carried out without adequate social and environmental safeguards. Mining, infrastructure and hydroelectric projects undertaken without appropriate consultation with local communities have given place to a significant number of socio-environmental conflicts around the country.

 

Indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable in this context, as extractive activities are a constant threat to their lands, livelihoods and culture, despite Peru having ratified the ILO’s Convention on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (No. 169). Although Peruvian law recognises the right of indigenous peoples to their land, it still foresees the possibility of granting concessions over these lands if they are deemed to be “of national interest”. Also, although Peru is party to a variety of several conventions on indigenous peoples’ rights, a lot remains to be done to implement them fully.

 

RFUK is working with its local partner, Central Asháninka del Río Ene (CARE) in order to protect the rights and lands of Ashaninka communities of the Ene River, in the Peruvian Amazon. Our focus is on the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ knowledge and interests in natural reserves management, sustainable forest management, small-scale agricultural activities to strengthen and diversify indigenous livelihoods, and participatory research. Also, RFUK and CARE have launched a campaign against the planned construction of the Pakitzapango and Tambo 40 dams, massive hydroelectric projects that would have devastating social and environmental impacts in the Ene and Tambo valleys and beyond. 

 

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