Last week, the United States announced it will block timber imports from Peruvian exporter Inversiones La Oroza for up to three years, due to massive amounts of illegal wood in one of their shipments. This historic action follows a verification conducted last year under the Forest Annex of the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, which found that the vast majority of a previous Inversiones La Oroza shipment was illegal. Earlier this year, US authorities destroyed a shipment from this company for violations of the U.S. Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in illegally harvested timber.
However, La Oroza is not an isolated case. Illegal logging is systemic and widespread in Peru, as EIA has documented repeatedly since its initial release of the ground-breaking report “The Laundering Machine” in 2012. The destruction of the Amazon through this organized crime is devastating to the forests and the communities who depend upon them.
Over the years, Peru has taken important steps to increase transparency in the forest sector and to make its timber traceable. But for every step forward, powerful timber lobbies have been pushing back. Today Peru is at a cross roads: Will it finally clean up its illegal logging sector and establish real transparency and traceability for harvested trees, or will the cover-up continue and the entrenched interests of a corrupt industry prevail?
In the latest edition of the Magazine Wired, Reporter Richard Conniff tells the full story of timber barons, investigators, enforcement efforts and the improbable voyage of stolen timber from the Peruvian Amazon to the US port of Houston and other international destinations.
Read full story here.
photo credit: Ian Allen/WIRED