illegal Peru mahogany exports in US stores
- Wikileaks reveals illegal Peru mahogany exports in US stores
By Survival International
Peruâs government has secretly admitted that 70-90% of its mahogany exports were illegally felled, according to a US embassy cable revealed by Wikileaks.
Furthermore, Peruâs government is aware that the illegal timber is being âlaunderedâ using âdocument falsification, timber extraction outside the concession boundaries and links to bribesâ.
The revelation will embarrass several US DIY stores, who have all admitted to Survival that they continue to import Amazonian hardwoods. Home Depot, Loweâs and Lumber Liquidators have all confirmed they use the timber in their products.
Then-US ambassador to Peru James Struble quoted âunofficial INRENA estimatesâ in the 2006 cable. (INRENA was the governmentâs Natural Resources Institute).
The ambassadorâs comments paint a damning picture of Peruâs forestry mismanagement. According to the cable, the US imported 88% of Peruâs mahogany exports in 2005, highlighting its significant role in the countryâs extensive illegal logging trade. The majority of Peruâs endangered mahogany remains destined for US shores today.
The news comes just weeks after illegal logging in Peru made international headlines after it emerged that loggers have infiltrated protected areas inhabited by uncontacted tribes, forcing them to flee across the border into Brazil.
The loggers pose a grave threat to uncontacted Murunahua Indians who could be wiped out by diseases brought by outsiders or face inter-tribal warfare if they are pushed off their lands.
Survival is urging the Peruvian government to ensure that the Murunahuaâs land is properly protected.
Survivalâs Director, Stephen Corry, said today, âThe ambassadorâs cable shows the alarming extent to which the authorities were aware of illegal logging in Peru, did not admit it, and did little to stop it. It beggars belief that five years on we are still seeing systematic illegal logging and a complete failure to safeguard land inhabited by vulnerable tribes. Consumers in the US and Europe simply canât rely on documents that purport to show Peruvian mahogany is sustainably sourced, as these are clearly not worth the paper theyâre written on.â