Oil palm plantations have deforested thousands of hectares of land in the Peruvian Amazon, El Comercio reported.
According to the daily, a study has revealed that between 2006 and 2011 close to 7,000 hectares of land were deforested in Loreto and San Martin, in order to make way for oil palm plantations.
“We are concerned that this pattern will be repeated in the other thousands of hectares of rainforest that are the site of proposals for planting oil palm,” said Matt Finer of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
Several of the deforested lands, the daily said, are owned by the Romero Group, who use them to produce biodiesel from palm oil.
According to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, only land that has already been cleared is being used for oil palm plantations. However, satellite imaging carried out by a conservation group, shows that the lands were forested areas prior to 2006, and shows increasing deforestation of the land in subsequent years.
The Peruvian Center for Social Studies (Cepes) has warned that replacing forested areas with these plantations are negative for the area, the daily said.
“We are losing entire ecosystems, and the palm plantations do not guarantee the diversity that primary forests have,” said Jaime Escobedo, a researcher at Cepes.
Map shows the growth of deforested areas (yellow) since 1998.