FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Newly released report presents new method to calculate illegal production and trade of timber in Peru


The Presidency of the Council of Ministers in Peru has released a report outlining a new and updated method to calculate illegal timber production and trade in the country.  The report, completed with the support of the USAID Pro-Bosques Activity, FOREST - United State Forest Service, and FAO-EU FLEGT programmes, also presents updated figures on the illegal logging index.


Improving the accuracy of the index

The new method utilizes official transport licenses and industrial processing databases to calculate the illegality in the forest sector directly. Improvements in Peru's forest policies, legislation and information systems have enabled the index to be calculated using a direct method that used databases for different types of forest harvesting authorizations and transport licenses. Previously, illegalities were calculated using indirect methods, which involved expert opinions, and production and consumption estimates. These calculations were also made by institutions outside of the forest sector and often outside of Peru, with very little accountability for their results.

This indicator will help the forest administration monitor where to focus human and financial resources for forest control and verification using traceability documentation and evidence to make informed decisions.

While there remain challenges for developing Peru's forest sector owing to a lack of resources, infrastructure shortcomings, and general informality in the national economy, this new method is intended to be a learning process for the forest authorities who will now measure the index annually.


Using the new index, researchers updated the figures of illegal logging across three key areas:

  • The general rate of illegal logging and trade was found to be 37 percent.
  • For forest concessions and permits on Campesino and indigenous community forestlands and harvesting permits on private properties, have an illegal logging rate below 30 percent.
  • For harvesting permits on local forests, which represents only 14 percent of the harvesting licenses, the rate of illegality is 88 percent.  A good indicator for concentrating forest control efforts

Further findings included that companies engaging in sustainable and legal timber production adopt voluntary certification approaches, were well-established operations of nine or more years, and complemented other forest activities such as the production of non-wood products, ecotourism, and environmental services.

These results have been embraced and promoted by forest authorities and forest sector actors, signalling a continued commitment to legal timber promotion.

Into the future

The policies required to reduce illegal logging and trade are complex, relying on actions within and beyond the forest sector. The study results are intended to be used as input to strengthen existing management instruments and guide the creation of action plans against illegal logging and trade.

The report calls for a series of improvements that the Peruvian forestry sector should enact to improve forest governance. Recommendations included greater supervision during the extraction process, increased transparency across the forest sector, the development of a methodology to understand the informal sector and clandestine wood flows, and the improvement of the definitions related to logging and illegal timber.

These policy revisions will deepen the understanding of the drivers and root causes of illegal forest activity, which will allow the implementation of further targeted policy to reduce deforestation's driving factors. The opportunities highlighted in the study show the enormous contribution of Peru's forests to the country's socio-economic development and reiterates the importance of sustainable forest management. These are increasingly relevant in the face of the increased pressure on forest resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly increased economic hardship across Peru.

Since 2016 the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported 15 projects in Peru, amounting to approximately USD 650 000, primarily focusing on support for developing forest enterprises, strengthening regional forestry authorities to manage forest resources, and providing support to the private sector.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is a global demand-driven initiative that provides technical support and resources for activities that further the goals of the EU's FLEGT Action Plan. The Programme is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.