In another great attempt at nature conservation Peru upgraded at the beginning of 2018 the Yaguas National Reserve - one of the largest virgin primary rainforests of the world located in the Loreto Region - to a National Park which covers more than 868,000 hectares of Amazonian rainforest and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, 500 species of birds, 160 species of mammals and 550 fish species. However, on the other hand the country lost 140,185 ha of primary rainforest due to deforestation last year.
According to updated data from the University of Maryland which was released on Global Forest Watch this places Peru on position 7 of the countries with the largest deforestation of primary forest in the world.
Worldwide 3.6 million hectares of primary rainforest - an area the size of Belgium – disappeared in 2018, the third-highest annual loss since record-keeping began in 2001.
Primary rainforests are vitally important ecosystems in our world. They contain trees that can be hundreds or even thousands of years old and store more carbon than other forests. Additionally, primary rainforests are irreplaceable when it comes to sustaining biodiversity as they provide habitat for millions of different kinds of plants and animals. Once these forests are cut down, they may never return to their original state.
On top of the list of countries with the largest deforestation of primary forests is Brazil with a staggering loss of 1,347,132 ha in 2018, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (481,248 ha), Indonesia (339,888 ha), Colombia (176,977 ha), Bolivia (154,488 ha), Malaysia (144,571 ha) and Peru (140,185 ha).
The rampant deforestation and destruction of primary rainforest in Peru is according to the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (Serfor) largely caused by shifting cultivation and small-scale agriculture including illegal coca production. Other factors that have a huge impact on deforestation in Peru include illegal mining, (illegal) logging and the construction of roads necessary to support these activities in remote areas.