The Peruvian Amazon lost nearly two million hectares (five million acres) of forest between 2001 and 2016, or more than 123,000 hectares (300,000 acres) a year, figures made public Tuesday by the ministry of the environment.
Agriculture, livestock raising, illegal logging, clandestine mining and drug trafficking were the main culprits, Cesar Calmet, the head of the ministry’s forest preservation program, told AFP.
“Unless decisions are taken on the matter, forest loss could reach 300,000 to 400,000 hectares a year,” he warned.
Satellite images show that deforestation continued apace in 2017, with 143,000 hectares of Amazon forest wiped from the map of Peru, “the equivalent of 200,000 football fields,” according to the environmental website Mongabay.
Peru is one of 17 “mega diverse” countries on Earth, which together contain 70 percent of the world’s biodiversity, according to the UN’s environmental agency.
It also is the country with the second largest expanse of Amazon forest after Brazil.
Located in the country’s east, the Amazon basin accounts for a third of Peru’s territory, and is a precious resource for absorbing greenhouse gases, the cause of global warming.
Calmet’s group at the environment ministry says the situation is particularly troubling in the southern Amazon region of Madre de Dios where panning for gold is widespread and deforestation is advancing rapidly, from 5,000 hectares in 2001 to 17,000 in 2016.
Pope Francis traveled to the region in January and called for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous inhabitants.
#BabyGate trends as Trump’s White House border fence gets a hilarious new nickname
President Donald Trump has now overseen the construction of a perimeter fence around the White House that is nearly two miles in length -- and it's already getting mocked relentlessly on social media.
As construction of the perimeter fence continued on Friday, many Twitter users said it reminded them of a baby gate that new parents use to keep their infants from crawling into potentially dangerous areas.
"Aww isn’t this cute!" Twitter user @H0telr0meo wrote in one widely shared tweet. "Little #BunkerBoy now has his own #BabyGate."
Minneapolis City Council taking first steps to ‘dismantle’ police department
"We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response," said council member Jeremiah Ellison. "It's really past due."
Aiming to "dismantle" the Minneapolis Police Department, city councilors on Friday will vote on imposing a temporary restraining order for the city's police department in response to the killing of George Floyd last month, and plan to set a timeline for the state's investigation into racial discrimination by the police over the past decade.
‘Hit her! Hit her!’ Indianapolis cops batter black protester with batons and pepper bullets
Indianapolis police officers are under investigation for beating a black woman with batons and shooting her at close range with pepper balls during protests against police brutality.
In a widely circulated video clip, officers can be seen repeatedly battering the woman with batons and firing less-lethal weapons as she stands still Sunday afternoon at the corner of North Pennsylvania and East Washington streets, reported the Indianapolis Star.