Saturday, April 9, 2011

My image of the Peruvians as environmentalists is all tattered now.

Peru’s Less-Than-Benign Environmental Policy

Peru’s Less-Than-Benign Environmental Policy
The enormous segment of Amazonian rainforest that covers over half of the country has always been an issue of contention for Peru due to the number of indigenous tribes that inhabit it. As early as the 16th century, the Peruvian Amazon has been linked to the world market, providing such products as timber, rubber, and quinine to an increasing global market. Ever since the region first became an attractive venue for resource extraction, the government's economic ambitions have wantonly grown in spite of the ecological importance of preserving the Amazonian rainforest for Peru, its neighbors, and the international community.
The Peruvian segment of the Amazon is the setting for a wide variety of rare plant and animal species. The Peruvian rainforest is home to 25,000 species of plants, totaling ten percent of the world's inventory. Peru boasts the world’s second largest population of birds and is among the top five countries for providing a habitat for thousands of mammals and reptiles. Of Peru’s 2,937 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, 16 percent are endemic to the region and every year scientists are discovering new species. In 2010, scientists found a new species of leech and a new type of mosquito.1 Sadly, most of these discoveries depend upon, mining, logging and oil companies that have been granted exploratory rights to Amazonian lands.
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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Michael Reaney