WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Tropical Forest Foundation (TFF) has launched a 60-day effort to raise $100,000 to help save the forests of Peru. While the South American nation is an increasingly important exporter of tropical timber and the principal exporter of mahogany, Peruvian tropical forests are being lost to slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, and poor and illegal logging.
To ensure a future for the fourth largest tropical forest in the world, TFF plans to establish a Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) training center in Peru. $100,000 in seed money is needed immediately for TFF to begin developing the training center and continue its worldwide promotion of SFM. The Peru facility will require $4 million in cash for operations over five years and $.5 million in in-kind equipment and services.
TFF has established similar training centers in Brazil, Guyana, Gabon, and Indonesia. The Peru center will be the first that will teach in the Spanishlanguage. TFF’s training programs will focus on the companies and communities that work in the Peruvian Amazon, the Peruvian and regional government officials, and university faculty and students.
“When I visited Peru to discuss establishing a sustainable forestry training center, I was received warmly and enthusiastically by thegovernment, conservation NGOs, industry, and international agencies,” says Bob Johnston, Executive Director of TFF. “They believe that this will help their local communities that depend on the resources of the forests see the benefits to the environment and economy, and also see how government would improve with more knowledge. People in Peru are ready for TFF to begin training as soon as possible.”
In March, TFF gained agreement to proceed from U.S. and Peruvian government agencies, as well as a large Peru forest concession where the training center will be located. TFF must make immediate progress before government interests and priorities change.
The Amazon rainforest is renowned for its environmental services and benefits. More than half of the earth’s species of plants, animals and microorganisms reside there—that’s 10 million species, the largest and most diverse collection of life on the planet. This biodiversity provides significant health benefits for humans, with seventy percent of the Amazon’s plants having anticancer properties found only in the rainforest. The Amazon forest recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen and supplies 20 percent of our oxygen.