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Peru: The Tangled Paths of New Forest Law

Source:  Copyright 2010, Inter Press Service
Date:  April 1, 2010
Byline:  Milagros Salazar
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Indigenous protests prompted the introduction of a new legislative bill on forests and wildlife in Peru, the second most forested country in South America. Experts consulted by Tierramérica pointed to what the initiative gets right, but also to what's wrong with it.

The bill proposes a land registry to identify the zones with forest resources, which would help prevent disputes related to different economic activities, according to the experts.

"This is an advance because decisions about what to do with the forests can't be made if we don't know where they are," José Luis Capella, of the non-governmental Peruvian Society for Environmental Law, told Tierramérica. This gap in knowledge reveals a major problem, given that nearly 60 percent of Peruvian territory is suitable for forest.

However, Sandro Chávez, president of the Ecological Forum, warns that the initiative lacks a mechanism to ensure legal security for ancestral lands. "That must be a ...

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