MAAP maps deforestation in 2017

11 February 2018

The latest report by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), published last week, provides new figures for deforestation in the Amazon region of Peru. According to MAAP, Peru lost a further 143,425 hectares (354,410 acres) of forest cover in 2017, chiefly due to road building, the growth of agriculture and mining. The estimates for last year, however, are somewhat lower than those for 2016.

The worst affected areas were the Central Amazon region (Ucayali and Huánuco) and Madre de Dios, followed by San Martín and Amazonas. The report includes aerial photo maps that indicate the degree of deforestation in selected ‘hot spots’ between various months in 2016 and the end of 2017. 

In the central Amazon region, MAAP says that the main causes of deforestation are the expansion of cattle ranching and palm oil plantations. This is consistent with the protests that have taken place in the region spearheaded by indigenous communities against colonisation by firms involved in agribusiness.

In Madre de Dios, the advance of deforestation is most notable along the route of the Inter-Oceanic highway in the south of this region. There the main drivers are gold mining and the spread of small and medium-scale agriculture. This latter phenomenon is also intense in the area to the west of the town of Iberia in Madre de Dios.

In San Martín, the main cause of deforestation is the expanding areas under monocultivation (principally palm oil plantations) in the hands of relatively few, large agricultural producers, whilst the pattern in Amazonas is closer to that of Madre de Dios where the building of new roads leads inexorably to the growth of small and medium-sized agricultural units.

These findings add to concerns raised by the passage of Decree Law 30723 last month which declared the construction of new roads in the frontier districts of Ucayali to be “priority” and in “the national interest”.

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