World Rainforest Movement

Peru: The pillagers of yesterday and today, from deforestation to plantations

In our previous issue (WRM bulletin 109) we made reference to the promotion of oil palm plantations, denouncing their negative impacts on the Amazon forest and on displaced peasants.

The wave of plantations continues, with other types of alien trees. In July of this year the National Reforestation Plan was submitted, promoting plantations for commercial and industrial purposes. Adopted in January 2006, the plan set out an average annual rate of plantation of 104,500 hectares from now until the year 2024.

In a country where over eight million hectares of forests have been pillaged, it seems extremely ironic to propose such a reforestation plan as a remedy, and by the very same authors of the pillaging!

In fact, the National Reforestation Plan was put into operation by official bodies – the National Institute for Natural Resources (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales, INRENA) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance – jointly with industrialists and logging companies. In a proposal similar to those applied in other countries of the region, the idea is to channel private investment through tax incentives. In this case the Plan has established an approximate amount of 853 million dollars that include foreign debt swapping for plantations. It defines that the payment of incentives for each type of plantation and the promotion of private investment shall be done through “the development of a capital market that will be able to offer credit lines, with sufficiently ample periods of grace (harvest) and promotional interest rates.” The forest group Fondebosque announces it in this way: “Private Forestation Investments. The Great Opportunity” (http://www.fondebosque.org.pe/boletin/Boletin25.htm).

International financial institutions are lining up to facilitate this business. The World Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and FAO are among some of the possible sources of international technical and financial cooperation. Within the possible funding mechanisms, the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) would take responsibility for indebtedness, while the Italian-Peruvian Fund and the German Financing Corporation would be responsible for debt swapping.

There are practically no restrictions on this business as the tree plantations for commercial and industrial purposes of alien species – eucalyptus and pine – can be installed almost anywhere in the national territory. They may be located in agricultural lands, forests or grasslands and even in the lands of Andean peasant communities. The plan states that it is these communities that “have the most land suited to the establishment of this kind of plantations.” We have seen the damage done in other countries and denounced it profusely (see in our website: “The problem of tree plantations” at http://www.wrm.org.uy/plantations/about.html)

Furthermore, the forestry sector has recently managed to get Congress to adopt a new law, framed in the National Reforestation Plan, whereby deforested lands belonging to public domain may be given in concession to private investors to implement forestation and reforestation projects. This law has already been promulgated by the Executive and only requires ruling.

Yesterday’s depredators who became rich at the expense of the destruction of Peruvian forests will now become – according to official discourse – “forestation agents” or “reforestation agents” and will receive sizeable resources from the State. However, in spite of the change in name, they will continue to be the same depredators, destroying soil, water, flora and fauna with their monoculture tree plantations and sinking the local inhabitants into poverty.

Article based on information from: Plan Nacional de Reforestación, http://www.inrena.gob.pe/iffs/pnr/proyecto_pnr-v151205v1.pdf#search=%22Plan%20Nacional%20
de%20Reforestaci%C3%B3n%20per%C3%BA%22; información provided by Carlos Dávila Obregón, e-mail: carlosfelipedaob@yahoo.es

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