FOR: To whom it may concern FROM: Richard Z. Donovan, Chief of Forestry Rainforest Alliance

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1 FOR: To whom it may concern FROM: Richard Z. Donovan, Chief of Forestry Rainforest Alliance Gerben Stegeman & Freddy Peña, RA/SmartWood South America Wolfram Pinker, Managing Director RA/SmartWood RE: Results and preliminary conclusions from SmartWood investigation into complaints against Forestal Venao S.R.L. DATE: September 27, 2007 Background: Forestal Venao S.R.L. is a Peruvian company that currently implements forest management and harvesting activities on indigenous lands in Peru (Yurua District, Atalaya Province, Department of Ucayali) through participation agreements with communities that have ownership over these forests. In April 2006 Forestal Venao contacted SmartWood Program of Rainforest Alliance indicating their interest in initiating a process to achieve FSC forest certification The FSC certification process was implemented in two phases, a pre-assessment (July 2006) and a main assessment (September 2006). Based on the final results of this process, in April 2007 SmartWood issued a group FSC forest management-certificate to Forestal Venao S.R.L. as a Group Manager in charge of managing the forests of two native communities (Sawawo Hito 40 and Nueva Shahuaya). A public summary of the assessment of Forestal Venao SRL can be found on SmartWood s website (link: In July 2007 SmartWood received complaints alleging: 1) That Forestal Venao S.R.L. and one of the native communities (Nueva Shahuaya) carried out illegal logging in Brazilian territory; 2) That Forestal Venao constructed an illegal road between Puerto Italia and the communal territory of Yurua; 3) That Forestal Venao is carrying out illegal logging in the upper watershed or headwaters of the Yurua River, inside the Murunahua Territorial Reserve; and, 4) That Forestal Venao forest operations in communal territory in the Yurua area, are causing damage to the natural resources and environment, of the native communities that live on the Brazilian side of the border Following our FSC-approved internal complaints procedures, SmartWood organized and carried out an audit of Forestal Venao which included field verification and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders during the week of August 24, preceded by also gathering information from investigations conducted by Brazilian and Peruvian private and public agencies. New information from stakeholders has been welcomed throughout the process, and used for further investigation of these issues. The following sections outlines SmartWood s verification and information gathering activities as well as preliminary results and conclusions based on the information obtained and processed up to now in relation to specific complaints. SmartWood verification activities and methods Consultation with official governmental entities responsible for forest regulation and control, and other authorities: Instituto Brasilero de Medio Ambiente (IBAMA), Federal Police of Brazil, Brazilian Military Police of the Interior, Brazilian Forest Services Office, Peruvian National Institute 1

2 of Natural Resources - INRENA, Peruvian Transport Office, Municipal Authorities of the Yurua and Tahuanía districts, Peru. Note: information gathering on the Brazilian side was conducted by IMAFLORA, SmartWood s certification partner for Brazil. Consultation of communities and local indigenous leaders: leaders of indigenous communities at the Brazilian border, national and regional indigenous organizations in Peru, community leaders of the Yurua area. Revision of documented information: (reports of independent investigators, technical documentation related to the evaluated forest operations, complaint documents presented to SmartWood, past certification audit reports and other information related to the forest operations of Forestal Venao and the native communities). Field Inspections: inspection of forest areas where Forestal Venao is currently executing forest harvesting operations (logging, road construction, extraction of logs, etc) including inspection and gathering of geographical coordinates along the entire northern border of the Forestal Venao Annual Harvest Area PCA where reported roads and/or forest roads start, inspection of entire length of road that connects Puerto Italia and the Yurua communities, inspection of forest roads built by Forest Venao in all the work areas. Due to access difficulties and recommendations made to us by the Brazilian government agency IBAMA, no field inspection has been carried out on the Brazilian side. SmartWood and IMAFLORA consider this inspection of fundamental importance to the investigation of this complaint and it will be executed as soon as possible, i.e. during the month of October. Complaint Issues and findings 1) Forestal Venao and one of the native communities with whom they work (Nueva Shahuaya), have carried out illegal logging in Brazilian territory. Findings: The Forest Intendancy INRENA (Lima office) executed verification inspections in relation to this claim in situ. In its report, INRENA concludes that the Forestal Venao forest activities have been implemented within the authorized area (the annual harvest area-pca) and that the interventions (opening of roads, logging, etc.) were carried out up to a distance of between 150 and 200 meters from the Brazilian border. SmartWood received a letter signed by the Director of Environmental Protection of IBAMA including an attached field inspection report, which ratifies the previously denounced facts (indicating that Forestal Venao had carried out illegal logging in Brazilian territory). This report referenced specific geographic coordinates amongst them a harvest area (and log landing) allegedly in Brazil. The IBAMA report also indicates that the Forestal Venao PCA is located inside Peruvian territory, but stating that roads have been observed (opened with machinery), starting in Peruvian territory and going into Brazilian territory. Pictures of these roads were included but no geographical coordinates were provided for the specific sites where these interventions were supposedly carried out by Forestal Venao in Brazilian territory. The SmartWood audit team carried out a field inspection, traversing the entire northern limit of the harvested area (PCA) of the Nueva Shahuaya community. The IBAMA referenced coordinates were located using three GPS and cross referenced by physical Brazil/Peru border 2

3 markers/monuments. Findings indicate that the forest operations have been carried out inside the INRENA authorized PCA and that they did not affect Brazilian territory. Note: SmartWood auditors also identified evidence on the Peruvian side of the border, within the PCA, of apparent recent presence of the Brazilian army (e.g. plastic food bags, camping articles). Brazilian authorities, indigenous leaders and independent investigators consulted during this process continue to associate Forestal Venao with illegal logging and cross border activities and reference to Forestal Venao in various official and unofficial documents regarding the frontier, illegal logging and affectation of indigenous territories. However, concrete evidence has not been presented that definitively links Forestal Venao with these illegal activities. 2) Forestal Venao has constructed an illegal road which unites Puerto Italia (established village on the Ucayali river) with the communal territory of Yurua. This road was constructed without an environmental impact study. Findings: Based on consultation in Peru with a range of stakeholder, the SmartWood audit team determined that the road in question was constructed and used by an oil company in the 1980 s (between 1982 and 1988). The oil company abandoned the exploration of oil, leaving a road of 92 km (from Puerto Italia towards the northeast), and from there a track of a bit more than 30 km towards the north leading to an area known as Pantanal in the Alto Tamaya. Various local residents of Puerto Italia and the authorities of the Municipality of Tahuania affirm that the road was in disuse from 1989 to 1990, after which a forest company entered (they don't refer to Forest Venao) which carried out forest extraction during 4 years (1990 to 1995). Later in 2002, under the system of forest concessions granted in the framework of new and current forest law, several forest companies entered to the area, among them Forest Venao. During this time, Forest Venao participated in the reopening or repair of this pre-existing 92 km road. In an interview with the Sub Dirección de Caminos of the Dirección Regional de Transportes y Comunicaciones (decentralized Office of the Ministry of Transport and Communications) it was confirmed that the road in question is currently not officially recognized/registered. The responsibility for this step of regularization is held by the local governments, in this case the Municipality of Tahuanía. During the August audit, SmartWood audit team travelled the entire length of the road (now currently about 160 km). The last portion of the road, approximately 60 km, crosses community territory and was constructed and maintained by Forest Venao in coordination with the native communities involved in forest management and harvesting. This portion of the road is regulated by INRENA under Peruvian forest law. INRENA authorities affirm that native communities can construct roads inside their territories and forest management units allowing them to transport their wood to processing centers. In this case, all the communities who work with Forest Venao and involved in road construction, have a INRENA-approved General Forest Management Plan (PGMFs). 3) Forestal Venao is carrying out illegal logging in the upper watershed or headwaters of the Yurua River, inside the Murunahua Territorial Reserve. 3

4 Findings: Based on information gathered by the SmartWood audit team logging activities in the Murunahua Territorial Reserve cannot be attributed to Forest Venao, but rather to other logging companies that work in the area (local people in the communities identify three of them). All the interviewed people agree these logging companies are promoting illegal logging in communities close to the Murunahua reserve. They also indicate that Forestal Venao doesn't work nor maintains relationship with the communities settled down in the upper basin of the Yurua River (Dulce Gloria, San Pablo and others). Auditors carried out inspections on forest roads constructed by Forestal Venao, but no indications were found that the company has transported wood from areas or sources other than those authorized by the INRENA (i.e. communities situated along the Yurua River (Nueva Victoria, Santa Rosa and El Dorado) with whom Forestal Venao currently works. 4) The claim that Forestal Venao forest operations in communal territory in the Yurua area, are causing serious damage to the natural resources and environment of the native communities that live on the Brazilian side of the border. Findings: Interviews with indigenous leaders on the Brazilian side establish that the Ashaninka da Tierra Indígena Kampa de Río Amonia tribes view negatively the activities of Forestal Venao. Indigenous leaders assert that their territories and resources are being negatively affected. However due to access difficulties, as mentioned above, SmartWood has not yet been able to undertake field inspections to allow that these communities show evidence of these impacts in the field. On the Peruvian side, SmartWood has verified that all operations (planning and construction of roads, bridges, installation of patios, etc.), are supervised by technically qualified personnel and follow established technical norms. Forestal Venao s implemented management system includes specific environmental measures, water courses protection, suspension of harvesting during rainy periods, identification and protection of special sites and/or of high importance for wildlife fauna. These measures are being carried out in the field. It can also be noted that there are two communities where forest harvest operations are being carried out near to the Brazilian border (i.e. Nueva Shahuaya certified, and Santa Rosa - in process of evaluation). In both these cases, however, the harvest areas do not include permanent water courses that flow to Brazilian territory. Smartwood audit found no indications that Forestal Venao personnel have been involved in hunting of wildlife. Forestal Venano has formally (through internal regulation and norms of conduct) prohibited this activity for all their personnel. At community level, hunting regulations have also been approved that regulate the activity for all its members. Summary of Preliminary Conclusions Complaint issue 1: The information gathered by the SmartWood audit team in Peru indicate that Forestal Venao forest operations have been carried out inside the INRENA authorized PCA and within Peruvian territory. Field inspection on the Brazilian side are still pending to verify IBAMA evidence and claims that Forestal Venao and the community Nueva Shahuaya have carried out 4

5 interventions (tree felling and opening of roads) in Brazilian territory. SmartWood with the support of IMAFLORA will carry out a field inspection on the Brazilian side within the coming weeks. Complaint issue 2: It is clear that the road in question (a track of 90 km.) was built by an oil company, and not by Forestal Venao. This road has been used by a group of forest companies, including Forestal Venao, which operated or are operating in the area. The final 60 km track (between the Base Camp of Forestal Venao and the community Nueva Victoria), is in compliance with forest law, authorized and controlled by INRENA. This case involves community territories with INRENA approved forest management plans, complying with standards for construction and maintenance and impact assessment and environmental monitoring. Complaint issue 3: There is no indication of any links between Forest Venao and illegal logging practices in the upper watershed or headwaters of the Yurua River, inside the Murunahua Territorial Reserve. Complaint issue 4: Environmental impacts of Forestal Venao harvesting activities on indigenous communities have not yet been verified. Inspections of Forestal Venao harvest areas on the Peruvian side have not identified evidence of negative cross-border environmental impacts.. Before final conclusion can be made, it is of utmost importance to complete a field inspection on the Brazilian side in order to verify the impacts documented in the complaint through communications with native communities and other stakeholder and to gather evidence in the field. However, coordination with IBAMA is crucial in this regard. Next steps SmartWood will schedule and implement direct consultation with affected Brazilian indigenous communities and field inspections in order to corroborate and to confirm the claims by IBAMA and leaders of indigenous communities regarding territorial invasion and effects that negative environmental impacts have been generated as a consequence of activities carried out by Forestal Venao. SmartWood is organizing and coordinating with authorities and leaders of indigenous communities on the Brazilian side to carry out a field inspection and to listen to the Brazilian indigenous communities. This inspection is expected to take place during the month of October Once this fieldwork is completed SmartWood will issue the results and final conclusions of the complaint investigation. The release of this public report is planned for November Public summaries of all audits will continue to be posted on Final Comment Throughout this complain process, SmartWood has taken advantage of any and all evidence provided by stakeholders and affected parties. The value of the information in the Venao case has been limited to some extent because: a) precise geographic information is either missing or contradictory (e.g. GPS data points not available or in locations that contradict the claims of the allegations), b) numerous of the allegations are based on events a number of years ago and are not recent, c) allegations are based on limited information (e.g. the complete picture on roads 5

6 development was not provided), and d) information is based on rumors. A lesson learned from SmartWood is that in cross-border situations (which have been rare in the past) we must place careful attention on cross-border evaluation during FSC forest certifications. This is not specifically addressed in the FSC system requirements. However, even in this case (i.e. Forestal Venao), it is important to note that public claims and allegations are just that claims and allegations and for a fair and rigorous certification process, the FSC system must have a consistent system for exploring both national and international cross-border allegations and coming to conclusions based without definitive or clear evidence. So far in this process we have not uncovered definitive or substantive evidence supporting the allegations. Thus the Venao SRL FSC certification remains intact. However, should new evidence surface to support the allegations, SmartWood reserves the right, as per FSC system requirements, to take further actions related to certification, and we continue to seek information that will affect this case. 6

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