A cable leaked on February 2nd through Wikileaks reveals that, in 2006, the Peruvian government reported 70‐90% of its mahogany exports were illegally harvested using “document falsification, timber extraction outside the concession boundaries and links to bribes.” Instead of following laws limiting mahogany extraction to commercial concessions, INRENA (Peru’s former National Institution for Natural Resources) sources, including the then‐US ambassador James Struble, documented illegal loggers taking advantage of indigenous communities by paying below‐market prices for mahogany within their reserves. The leak also exposed that INRENA knew 60% of its commercial mahogany concessions failed to meet management standards and that no concessions met high management standards.
The government responded in El Comercio on March 4th dismissing the relevance of the leaks, saying they are “old practices” from 2006 and that the problem of illegal logging has since been eliminated.
UAC believes the statements made by the government in El Comercio are 100% incorrect. Minister of Environment Antonio Brack’s declaration that “every cut mahogany log is controlled and georeferenced” is simply false. UAC reports from 2009 and 2010 document logging camps extracting mahogany trees in protected areas and indigenous lands. Illegal logging is a problem now more than ever.