Peru has the fourth largest tropical forest and is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. About one-tenth of the world’s plant species are found here. The Peruvian Amazon is larger than the size of France. 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 during the pandemic in 2020, when more than 200 000 hectares of forests were lost.

Breathtaking Biodiversity

Peru is among the top 20 most mega-diverse countries in the world. The 36 ecosystems found in the country are home to over 25,000 protected species of plants and animals, and over 4000 marine species.  

Much of its environmental richness is found in the tropical forests. Peru holds the largest diversity of butterflies in the world and ranks 3rd in number of bird species.

Drivers of deforestation

The drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Peruvian Amazon include small-scale agricultural expansion from migration from the Andes region, land speculation, legal or illegal logging, and illegal activities such as mining and coca production.

During 2008-2021, 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, corruption, 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.

Deforestation in Peru has in the last years been concentrated in a few regions; particularly in Madre de Dios, Loreto and Ucayali.

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.