Peru has the world's fourth largest intact rainforest. Deforestation has been relatively low but shows signs of increase, largely driven by small-scale agriculture and migration from the Andes mountains into the rainforest. Peru has a major problem with illegal logging (forest degradation).
Size: 1.3 million km2
Population: ca 32 million
Ethnic groups: 55 indigenous groups, with a population of 4 million people
Forested area: 680.000 km2 – more than 50% of the country
Biodiversity: Peru is part of the 17 most diverse countries in the world and has the second largest Amazon forest on the planet, which combined make up 70% of the planet’s total biodiversity.
Peru has the fourth largest tropical forest in the world; an area larger than the size of France. Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world thanks to these forests, and about one-tenth of all plant species in the world are found in Peru. Only Brazil holds a larger share of Amazonian tropical forest.
Between 2001 and 2018, Peru lost a forested area approximately half the size of the Netherlands. Deforestation reached a peak in 2014, when 177 566 hectares of forests were cut down. After 2014, deforestation has gone moderately down.
It is home to a countless number of endemic plants and animal species.
With its diverse ecosystems, flora, and fauna, Peru holds the largest diversity of butterflies in the world and ranks 3rd in number of bird species.
Peru’s indigenous peoples play a central role in forest conservation. However, in many areas their lands come under threat from outside actors, such as illegal loggers.
According to the UN, indigenous communities and environmental defenders are the groups of defenders most at risk in Peru. Several tribes in the Peruvian forests live in voluntary isolation. Today there are five indigenous reserves for uncontacted indigenous people covering an area of 28,000 km2. Peru has plans to create additional new reserves of more than 40,000 km2.
During 2008-2017, most of the deforestation occurred on lands without clearly defined rights. Most deforestation occurs on less than 5 hectares and is associated with agriculture practiced by small and medium-sized smallholders.
Underlying causes include weak governance, poverty, migration, insufficient land use planning, low agricultural productivity and little access to credit for small farmers, as well as the low perceived economic value of the forest.
To deal with these challenges, and to counter looming future threats of conversion of forests to large-scale agriculture, Peru has committed to set of policies to lead to a transformational change in terms of land use in the Amazon, including low carbon agriculture and sustainable forestry.
Partnership with Norway and Germany
In 2014, Peru, Germany and Norway signed a joint Declaration of Intent in support of Peru’s efforts to halt forest loss in the Peruvian Amazon. The objective was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, primarily by making the forest and agriculture sector carbon neutral and to expand protected areas and indigenous peoples’ reserves.
In 2021, this collaboration was extended, as the United States and the United Kingdom joined Peru, Germany and Norway in signing a new Joint Declaration of Intent. This powerful partnership is an extenion of the original declaration from 2014, and aims to step up efforts to reduce deforestation in Peru’s Amazon rainforest by 2025.
Norway is committed to support Peru’s efforts with up to NOK 1800 million – more than USD 200 million, up to 2025. Of this, up to NOK 1500 million are payments for reduced deforestation, certified by the third-party standard Architecture for REDD+ Transactions.
Progress under the Partnership
During the UN climate summit in Glasgow (COP26), Norway announced a payment of USD 10 million to Peru as part of the existing climate and forest partnership for achieved policy milestones in the period 2018-2020. The payment will be made as soon as Peru has established its REDD+ financial mechanism and the plan for implementation.
Important progress has been made on the expansion of protected areas and indigenous reserves and putting in place important policy and monitoring instruments.
Some of the key results in recent years include:
(I) Peru established the Yavarí Tapiche reserve for uncontacted and vulnerable indigenous groups deep in the Amazon rainforest. The area expands to approximately 1,100,000 hectares, equivalent to the size of Jamaica.
(II) Peru established a new, stunning national park in 2015 in Peru’s Amazon forest and along the border with Brazil – Sierra del Divisor. This national park spans 1,300,000 hectares of largely primary forest, and contains unique wildlife habitat and uncontacted indigenous communities.
(III) Peru, through its National Program of Forest Conservation, has entered into forest conservation agreements with indigenous communities covering 2,900,000 hectares.
(IV) Peru has granted forest titles to indigenous communities covering more than 1,900,000 hectares. Indigenous peoples play an important role in protecting Peru’s forests and play an active role in implementing the Joint Declaration of Intent.
(V) Peru has granted rights to more than 5,600,000 hectares of forests through the establishment of new natural protected areas and regional conservation areas. Peru also made progress in establishing a public cadastral system for land titles, and in implementing policies on zoning, land-use planning, forest management and allocation of rights to forest resources.
(VI) Peru increased its ambition to reduce emissions under the Paris Agreement in December 2020.
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