Peru about to reach a million hectares of certified forests
• Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs take the Peruvian forest sector to a next level of responsible management.
Lima, July, 2012. Peru’s forest sector potential is huge. With almost 70 million hectares of forest – mostly in the Amazon- it has designated an area, similar in size to UK (24,500,000 ha), for its productive management. Obviously, in an area as extensive as this and as biodiverse as Amazon forests are, this is not an easy task.
“We started this work in 2002, aiming to contribute towards the modernization of the forest sector along with authorities, private companies and indigenous communities”, says Kelly Soudre, Forest Specialist of WWF Peru.
This has been a long journey and the last addition to this ambitious goal is the certification obtained by Maexco Company, which has just achieved FSC certification of its operation in 74,000 hectares of Amazon forests in the Ucayali region at the Peruvian east.
“We started supporting Maexco approximately in June, 2010, at this point we analyzed the case, the pros and cons, and we finally decided to embrace the challenge and work with them on helping them improve their practices, because we know how hard it is to take forward the certification process in a context where many times, in spite of the enterprises’ intentions, the numerous formalities and administrative procedures and high amounts of investment that are required, summed up to the lack of orientation, make plenty of them drop the process, even before starting it”, continues Soudre.
Today, 10 years after having started this task, WWF Peru has accompanied the certification of 929,438 ha of forests, which represents more than 90% of the national total. In addition, through the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) local producers have been helped to create links with the international market for an estimated value of 20 million dollars of commercialized certified wood.
All this, side by side with forest concessionary entrepreneurs, indigenous communities and authorities, under a scheme that successfully brings together environmentally responsible forest management, social and financial benefits and the certification methodology as a business and conservation aid tool.
About the Forest Certification
The forest certification is a follow up system to the productive and commercial forest process, from the extraction of raw materials to the commercialization of the final product. The purpose is to guarantee that the products come from well managed forests, this means lower strict and provable performance of high environmental, social, financial standards.
A long history of working for the conservation and sustainable use of Peruvian forests
Since the year 2000, WWF Peru has played a key role in assisting the modernization and improvement of the Peruvian forest sector. It participated technically in the consultation process and the formulation of this year’s forest law and along these years has worked providing technical assistance to more than 65 forest concessions and 50 indigenous groups under the framework of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
In addition, WWF Peru has provided key technical inputs for the mahogany international conservation process under the CITES framework, and has participated in the consultation processes regarding the forest topic framed in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with U.S. and the negotiations for the free trade in the EU, along with the Peruvian Government and respective international authorities. Currently, WWF Peru continues playing an important role providing support to the forest sector, the technical grounds for its new legislation and the decentralization of related capacitiesin the regional governments.
Throughout the years, WWF’s contributions to the Peruvian forest sector have been possible thanks to USAID the European Union and the Peruvian Italian Fund, among other valuable partners.