6. The Peru paper trail

In Peru a state agency, the Supervisory Body for Forest Resources and Wildlife (OSINFOR) carries out regular, random field inspections to forest concessions that have recently been logged. During these inspections, OSINFOR officials assess the extent to which harvesting has taken place in compliance with regulations. They also assess a sample of forest to check it against volumes declared by the concessionaire. These inspections produce Supervisory Reports that identify illegalities such as false inventories, illegal logging and misuse of permits to launder timber.

EIA obtained Supervisory Reports for inspections carried out between 2008 and 2011 using Peru’s Transparency and Access to Public Information Law. More than 200 concessions covered by the reports exhibited some form of serious illegality. EIA cross-referenced these reports with a database of CITES export permits for cedar and mahogany from Peru, which were also obtained under the transparency law. This identified more than 100 permits used to export endangered species to the US, all of which could be directly connected, through the permits themselves, to concessions where OSINFOR had identified evidence of serious illegal activities.

The CITES permits name the concessions of origin, in theory, but in some cases they were linked to concessions where OSINFOR had found no legal logging. In most cases, the concessionaires had falsified inventories to inflate the volume of endangered species legally available to them. The CITES permits also named the importers of timber in the US, so using this process EIA was able to make a clear link between illegal harvest and market.

Click here [PDF] to download the report.