Luis Ángel Ascencio Jurado, born in Huancayo, Peru, in 1980, is a lifelong forestry entrepreneur. His grandfather and his father, whose name and trade he inherited, sold lumber. After being a supplier of Maderera Bozovich, today the main timber exporter in Peru, in 2004 he set up Inversiones La Oroza, his own operation, which includes his own concessions, sawmill and dryer for the logs he extracts, trades in Peru and exports to several countries. It grew very fast and by 2015 its timber company was the main exporter of sawn timber in the country.
Peruvian authorities then began to more effectively monitor forestry operations to see if they were in fact complying with the Forest Management Plans to which the concessionaire had committed. And the Organismo de Supervisión de los Recursos Forestales y de Fauna Silvestre (Osinfor), responsible for monitoring and sanctioning possible infractions, found in 2011 that the Ascencio's concessionaire Oroza Woods S.A.C. had extracted more than 326,000 cubic meters of cedar and had exported to the United States more than 136,000 (some 4,500 containers), but could only document that 59,000 of these had left legally. This concession harvested mostly cedar, a species listed as threatened under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and Maderera Bozovich exported it. Inspectors found that the concessionaire had even "seeded" pieces of 14 cedar logs to make them appear to be stumps from legally harvested trees, according to the Forest Management Plan.
The Alianza Periodística Madera Sin Rastro team interviewed him via video to ask him about his new export scheme, about how he certifies that the timber he is exporting to the world is of legal origin and that it does not contribute to the degradation of the Amazon. This is the conversation that this journalistic team had with him and his lawyer, Paola Bances, who were at his offices in Iquitos, Peru.
The story excerpt above was translated from Spanish. To read the full original interview in Spanish, visit the Mongabay website. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.