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Deforestation in Peru's Amazon

Interviewee: Bruce Cabarle, Director Global Forest Program, World Wildlife Fund
Interviewer: Toni Johnson, Staff Writer, CFR.org
December 14, 2009

Peru's rainforest--which represents 20 percent of the Amazon--faces a number of environmental pressures, including deforestation and monitoring the trade of endangered species of wood. Although the 2007 annex to the U.S.-Peru Free Trade agreement made strides in helping regulate Peru's trade of mahogany--an endangered species (PDF), deforestation remains a concern, says World Wildlife Fund's Bruce Cabarle.  "Deforestation has been advancing through the Brazilian Amazon, although the Brazilians have made some significant reductions in their deforestation rate," said Cabarle in an interview with CFR.org during a visit to the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru. "But with the opening up of the transoceanic highway, which is going to come through the frontier state of Acre in Brazil, into the Madre de Dios region [in Peru], we could see a future wave for deforestation unless measures are taken to avoid it."

Regarding UN Copenhagen negotiations, he noted that the issue of forests probably has the most consensus for agreement in international negotiations on climate change. "The tough issues are about everything else except forests," he says. "The big risk is if, indeed, we can get a larger agreement on reducing greenhouse emissions, in which deforestation will be a piece." He says a good deal on deforestation would include deep cuts in emissions by rich countries, which are necessary to incentivize carbon markets, and strong commitments in developing countries to prevent deforestation. In addition, Cabarle says significant commitments are needed for resources, pointing out that at least $6 billion annually would be needed to reduce deforestation by 75 percent by 2020 and $40 billion annually to completely arrest deforestation by 2050.

Toni Johnson traveled to Peru on an IRP Gatekeepers trip organized by the International Reporting Project.

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