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Story Publication logo March 2, 2022

Shihuahuaco Loses Battle with Illegal Logging (Spanish)


A forest in Peru.

The confluence of an economic and humanitarian crisis due to Covid–19 has reversed fragile gains in...


This story excerpt was translated from Spanish. To read the original story in full, visit El Piurano. 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.

logs with numbers and letters written on them are piled up. A forest is seen in the background.
Image by Michael Tweddle. Peru.

The threat of the illegal economy in the Peruvian Amazon —concentrated in drug trafficking, logging, and illegal mining— falls from the sky like rain that lashes the dense and humid forests of Madre de Dios.

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In the jungles of the Las Piedras River, the lack of protection and neglect of the state is felt in every corner. Only in the ports of Lucerna and Sabaluyoc, almost two hours from Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the region, the routine is voracious: a squadron of workers comes and goes transporting huge trunks of cut trees that are piled up before being loaded onto trucks.

The loggers have finally set their eyes on the shihuahuaco (of the dipterix genus), a huge tree that can take up to a thousand years to reach a diameter of 120 cm and a height of 50 meters, and whose hardiness, until a few years ago, has arduously defended it from the chainsaws. But today it is losing the battle.

A man cuts into the wood with a chainsaw.
Image by Michael Tweddle. Peru.
A ma with a Peruvian national football team jersey navigates a river on a motorboat.
Image by Michael Tweddle. Peru.
Three women in beige uniforms stand in the jungle by the river, conversing over a smartphone.
Image by Michael Tweddle. Peru.
A truck loaded with logs
Image by Michael Tweddle. Peru.