Peru sits in the Andean Amazon, an area of exceptional biodiversity and cultural richness. The country is home to around five million indigenous people representing 55 distinct ethnicities speaking 48 languages. Roughly a quarter of the Peruvian Amazon is titled to indigenous communities and at least 20 of these peoples continue to live in voluntary isolation.
The leading causes of forest conversion and fragmentation are commercial agriculture, cattle ranching, illegal logging, mining and drug production while an increasing road network is opening up previously remote forest areas. Around a third of the Peruvian Amazon is covered in oil and gas concessions – this includes concessions allocated over titled land and protected areas.
But despite these challenges, there are many reasons for hope. The indigenous movement in Peru is strong and well organised and has a track-record of fearless activism. Indigenous forest monitoring also has a long tradition in the country and has succeeded in denouncing illegal activities, tackling forest destruction and defending rights. The rich forests here provide a myriad of livelihood opportunities, which with the right support, could reduce poverty in a sustainable, climate-smart way.