Corrupting climate change institutions from the inside Systemic Collusion in the Peruvian Forest Governance

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This article aims to contribute to the literature on natural resource corruption by analyzing the subnational political economy behind the little enforcement of anticorruption policies. Building on the political ecology approach to corruption, this article focuses on how economic and political interest colludes in a hybrid or ambivalent system that reproduces over and over corrupt practices. Zooming on the subnational case of Ucayali, we find four main factors contributing to understanding the poor enforcement of subnational governments of new forest regulations to reduce deforestation. The first one is infrastructural capacity, which is essential to understand the issue at hand, but it alone is insufficient to comprehend the systemic corruption in the forest sector. A second factor is the decentralization process and the subnational political economy. Our analysis shows the importance of economic and political dynamics at the subnational level in shaping national anti-corruption and deforestation reforms. A third element to consider is the divergent perspectives on the development of the Amazon. While in Peru, the environmental sector has witnessed significant growth at the national level, it still holds limited political influence. Conversely, positions advocating for economic activities that adversely impact the Amazon forest, such as extensive agriculture, exert more control over the region. A fourth factor is the historical marginalization of indigenous groups, who can serve as valuable allies in driving reforms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102991
JournalPolitical Geography
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Amazon forest
  • Climate change
  • Corruption
  • Institutional weakness
  • Subnational politics


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