Peru’s forests – which store 28.4 Gt of carbon – are among the most deforested in the world. Between 2001 and 2019, Peru lost 3.12 million hectares of tree cover (or 4%) to deforestation, resulting in 1.48Gt of CO₂ emissions. 2 million of those hectares were primary rainforests, amounting to a 2.8% decrease in Peru’s total primary rainforest. In 2019, Peru was third in Latin America and fifth worldwide of tropical countries that lost the most primary forest that year.
The main drivers of deforestation in Peru are illegal logging (accounting for 66% of lumber exports), small-scale agriculture, gold mining, infrastructure development, oil and gas drilling, and increasingly palm oil plantations.
According to Peruvian Law 29763, deforestation is prohibited in indigenous territories. But increasing pressure for intensive land uses often results in illegal intrusions on indigenous lands, sparking violence and intimidation against indigenous forest defenders.