Peru - Forestry
About 51% of Peru's land area, or approximately 65.2 million hectares (161.1 million acres), is covered by tropical rain forests. Most of Peru's exploitable timberlands lie on the eastern slopes of the Andes and in the Amazon Basin; the arid Pacific watershed cannot support forestlands. The trees of commercial importance on the coastal plain are amarillo, hualtaco, and algarroba (cut for railway ties and for charcoal fuel). Lumber from planted eucalyptus is used locally in the sierra for ties and for props by the mining industry. Eastern Peru, however, with its abundance of rain, consists of approximately 70 million ha (173 million acres) of forestland (more than half the country's area), most of it uncut. A precise indication of Peru's volume of standing timber has never been ascertained. The selva contains Peru's only coniferous stand, where ulcumano is logged. Cedar, mahogany, moena, tornillo, and congona (broadleaf hardwoods) are also logged. The rain forests of the Amazon lowlands contain cedar, mahogany, rubber (wild and plantation), and leche caspi (a chewing-gum base). Commercially important are tagua nuts, balata, coca, fibers, and a wide range of medicinal plants. Cultivation for illicit purposes of the coca leaf (the source of cocaine), which has long been used habitually and ritually by Andean Amerindians, was regarded as a growing problem by the Peruvian government and by the International Narcotics Control Board in the 1980s.
Lumbering is conducted chiefly in the selva, where Pucallpa and Iquitos are the main sawmill centers. Mahogany is now the principal lumber export product, sent mainly to the United States and Europe; mahogany and Spanish cedar trees supply about half of Peru's lumber output, which falls far short of the nation's needs. In 2000, production of roundwood totaled 8,704,000 cu m (307 million cu ft).