Illegal logging and related trade occurs when timber is harvested, transported, processed, bought or sold in violation of national or sub-national laws.
Illegal logging exists because of increasing demand for timber, paper and derivative products, including packaging.
Illegal logging not only leaves an obvious mark of destruction on forests – gaping holes where ancient trees once stood – it strips the economic livelihood of local communities and responsible companies.
There's also another cost – lost revenue that may have been generated from legal logging of forests. When trees are cut without the right permits and are smuggled abroad, governments lose out financially in several ways, including lost revenue from taxes and duties and the costs of efforts to manage illegal logging.
With more than half of its territory covered by forests (about 72 million hectares) Peru continues to face significant deforestation, which was estimated at 143'000 hectares in 2017 for the Amazon region.
Wood extraction through illegal logging is an important driver in the degradation of Peruvian forests. Deforestation and logging in the Amazon are characterized by illegality and informality.
Corruption plays a central role in the sector, which often influences the granting of concessions and titles of property, as well as illegal logging.
Most of the wood exported or sold on the domestic market is illegally sourced. The collusion of public and private actors along the wood processing chain often leads to the counterfeiting of forest inventories or the creation of false data.
By purchasing wood accompanied by legal documents, even if it is established on the basis of falsified information, processing and exporting companies may claim to have bought in good faith wood that seems legal.
Only a system such as the "Wood Tracking Protocol" based on robust field verification allows the forest authorities, as well as intermediates and the final buyers, to verify the legality and traceability of the wood.