Peru to create special force to protect Amazon biodiversityOctober 2nd, 2008 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS
Lima, Oct 2 (IANS) Peru plans to create a special task force to safeguard forests and monitor the rivers in the Amazon basin, Environment Minister Antonio Brack has said, EFE reported Thursday quoting Peruvian media.The environment and the interior ministries have been working together to create the special cell of some 3,000 officers to be known as the Environment Police, the minister told the official Andina news agency.
Brack said illegal logging, “a problem of organized crime, morality and oversight,” has been one problem in the Amazon basin that could not be adequately addressed because of severely understaffed police force.
Overseeing 373,000 sq km of Amazon forest and patrolling the rivers with the existing force of 240 men to combat illegal logging and sale of timber and unauthorised clearing of forest for farming is impossible, he said, adding that the new force would launch an effective campaign against the illegal activities in the region.
Ecologists have expressed great concern over the depletion of Amazon flora and fauna and said that at the present rate of deforestation the basin, home to one of the world’s greatest biodiversity, could be harmed beyond repair in coming decades.
Amazon forest, which generally is exploited by companies looking to harvest precious wood like mahogany, covers almost a third of Peru’s territory.