RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Peru has descended into one of the worst political crises in its history and protection of its Amazon rainforest is failing, according to a report published on Thursday. Peru is home to the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil. The country had pledged to stop deforestation by 2021.
The South American country has been immersed in political turbulence since 2016. Corruption scandals and disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government have led to intense turnover – four presidents in five years. Peru’s current President, leftist outsider Pedro Castillo, has already survived two impeachment attempts since he took office in July 2021.
The Peruvian Amazon is massive – larger than Ukraine, some 68 million hectares (168 million acres). It holds the headwaters of the Amazon river as well as Manú National Park, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. It’s a transition zone between the Andes mountains and the rainforest lowlands, rich in microclimates and ecology.
But the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Association, reports that deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon has hit six historical highs in the past ten years. The analysis is based on data from the University of Maryland, which has kept records since 2002.