Peruvian forests and their biggest threat: deforestation
Peru has a total area of 128.5M hectares divided in three main regions: a) the Coast region to the West; b) the Andean region in the center; c) the Amazon region to the East. It hosts 73.3M hectares of forests, of which 53.4M are of low jungle (selva baia) and 15.7M of high jungle (selva alta), which allow widespread forest activities. Indeed, 80.1% of the national area is covered by forests, while only 13.9% is covered by pastures and 5.9% by cultivated areas. Yet, forests contribution to the national GDP is very little (approx. 1.1%). That is because 70-90% of conceded forested areas are used by local populations for self-subsidence and because about 10M hectares of forested areas are used for illegal and untaxed activities  (MINAM, 2016).
The biggest threat of Peruvian forests is deforestation. Since 1995, deforestation rate has been around 100,000 ha/year in the Amazon region, which hosts 94% of the national forests, and has strongly hit the low jungle. Slash-and-burn farming, cattle farming and coca cultivation are the main reasons of deforestation, but the generic causes are deeper rooted in the Peruvian society. Poverty, overpopulation and migration in the Amazon are some of the social causes. Land use change, weak market regulation for the extraction of natural resources and the demand increase for industrial crops are some economic causes. Finally, a bad governance, including the incoherence of government , the lack of regional administrative bodies and poor institutional control and coordination is the third cause (MINAM, 2016). Meanwhile, the expansion of the global cocaine market, has increased Peru’s coca production, which raised from 43,900 hectares in 2016 to 49,900 hectares in 2017, and added additional pressure to Peruvian forests (United Nations, 2017).
In this scenario, agroforestry can be a potential solution to tackle deforestation, replace coca production and restore degraded land in Peru.