Survival International is Urging Peru to Curb Illegal Logging
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Survival International is Urging Peru to Curb Illegal Logging

Lima : Peru | Mar 04, 2011 at 10:05 AM PST
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March 4, 2011

Survival International is urging the Peruvian government to curb illegal logging in lands that are set aside for uncontacted tribes in the Amazon basin. The illegal logging in the Muranahua Indians' land has forced some of them across the border into Brazil. The exposure of the uncontacted people exposes them to diseases that could sweep through the tribes, virtually wiping them out.

The world's insatiable appetite for tropical hardwoods has led to corruption of Peruvian officials at the highest levels. Now we have learned through Wikileaks that knowledge of the widespread stealing of tropical hardwoods was well known as long ago as 2005. At that time it was acknowledged that up to 90% of the documented hardwoods entering the US were stolen and carried counterfeit documentation.

"Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The ambassador’s cable shows the alarming extent to which the authorities were aware of illegal logging in Peru, did not admit it, and did little to stop it. It beggars belief that five years on we are still seeing systematic illegal logging and a complete failure to safeguard land inhabited by vulnerable tribes"survival international

Mahogany is the principal tree being targetted by the tree pirates. The fake documentation may show that the wood was harvested in a sustainable manner, making it desirable to those who are trying to respect the environment. Do it yourself stores in particular have carried these products. Stores like Home Depot, Lowe's and Lumber Liquidators have all sold what they believed to be well documented hardwoods for flooring.

This revelation about the criminal behavior occurring in Peru throws into doubt documentation coming from other countries that export tropical hardwoods. When I was building my retirement home, one small room had documented teak flooring installed. Now I am wondering if I am stepping on the blood of victims when I walk in there.

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A displaced Peruvian tribe is using modern technology to fight the wood pirates in their territory.
BMcPherson is based in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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