PERU – Last week, three USDA Forest Service representatives traveled to Peru to improve the curriculum of a certification course for forest regents. Forest regents in Peru are responsible for developing management plans for timber harvests and carrying out oversight of timber harvest operations. Forest regents play a key role in the forest sector in Peru, and to date the required training for forest regents has not been adequate. The Forest Service representatives –David Gwaze, National Silviculturist, Washington Office; Tim Douville, Medicine Bow National Forest; and Dan Kipervaser, Coconino National Forest– were not only able to provide feedback on the curriculum for the forest regents certification course, but also supported the development of a continuing education course for forest regents.
The team spent the week in the Amazonian region of Loreto. They visited a forest concession (an area designated by the government for timber harvest) to learn first-hand about the important role of forest regents. They also participated in the National Forest Regents Meeting to see how the training is currently carried out and to provide suggestions on how the training can be improved. During the week, they also presented at a Forestry Fair on the latest tools and technologies in forestry, and large-scale forest restoration projects. Additionally, they met with forestry students at an Amazonian university to share their experiences and career paths in forestry. These interactions provided opportunities for the Forest Service representatives to share their reflections on how to improve the forest regency program and to build a roadmap for future support.
The USDA Forest Service, with funding from and in cooperation with U.S. Agency for International Development, has been working to support the forest sector in Peru since 2009. In that time the expertise of the USDA Forest Service has been leveraged to help develop and launch the new forestry law and regulations, the Peruvian Forest and Wildlife Service, and to build capacity in the regional Amazonian governments. The forest sector in Peru faces a myriad of challenges, among those, the ability to adequately maintain oversight and control of forest resources, while concurrently promoting the stainable harvesting of timber as an essential part of the rural economies in the Amazon Region. The support provided last week by the Forest Service representatives was part of a much larger effort to promote sustainable forest management and conservation in Peru.