In the first two installments of a new series monitoring soy deforestation in Bolivia, we provide more accurate estimates of total soy production-based deforestation and some of the major actors driving this significant source of deforestation.
It is generally well known that the production of commodities such as soy, oil palm, and cattle are major tropical deforestation drivers, but concise estimates of just how much deforestation occurs as a result of these commodities are often difficult to find or create.
Merging a new data set released by Global Forest Watch with high-resolution forest loss imagery, our team of GIS specialists from our Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) were able to analyze the data and determine just how much forest loss has occurred.
In the first report, MAAP #179, our team documented the soy-driven deforestation of 904,518 hectares (2.2 million acres) over the past 20 years (2001-2021). This is a massive area, similar to the size of the U.S. state of Vermont. Over 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) were deforested in just the past five years (2017-21).
In the second report, MAAP #180, our team incorporated additional data and estimated that Mennonite colonies caused nearly one quarter (23%) of the total soy deforestation over the past 20 years (210,980 hectares, or 521,344 acres) and increased to 33% over just the past 5 years.
These reports are part of a series focused on the Bolivian Amazon through a strategic collaboration between the sister organizations Conservación Amazónica – ACEAA in Bolivia and Amazon Conservation in the U.S.
Our sister organization in Peru, Conservación Amazónica – ACCA, has joined forces with Consecuencias (Consequences in English), a USAID initiative that seeks to encourage youth to learn about the dangerous effects of environmental crimes and get involved in taking action to stop them by reporting and denouncing the crimes through various social media platforms.
Dangerous extractive practices like gold mining and logging are significant sources of negative ecological and social impacts in the Amazon. To promote the campaign and raise awareness to these dangers, Consecuencias teamed up with Peruvian musical group La Explosión de Iquitos for a music video that has reached hundreds of thousands of young viewers, educating them about the dangers and effects of environmental crimes.
By uniting with Consecuencias, our Peruvian sister organization, Conservación Amazónica – ACCA, has joined the ranks of a host of Peruvian and Latin American celebrities and well-known organizations, significantly raising awareness worldwide of the urgent need to stop environmental crimes in the Amazon.
The park ranger team at Los Amigos recently completed training in the use and management of EarthRanger, a software that aids protected area managers, ecologists, and wildlife biologists in making more informed operational decisions for wildlife conservation. EarthRanger will allow park rangers, or “promotores” in Spanish, to better monitor and stop environmental threats such as logging, mining, and deforestation connected with these threats. Los Amigos Conservation Hub is the first entity to use this new technology in all of Peru.
The two day workshop covered the properties of the software and how it can be used as an effective monitoring tool with simply a tablet or smartphone. The software also facilitates data collection from the field from anywhere at anytime with backup protection to the cloud. This means, that teams on patrol can collect data without worrying about signal or loss of data due to connectivity issues. The software can also be coupled with animal tracking devices such as tags or collars which can make tracking animal routes and locations much more effective and timely.
“This tool greatly facilitates the collection and organization of geospatial data in the field at no cost, achieving greater efficiency in information management, reducing processing times and having an intuitive graphical interface that favors the visualization of the collected data. The great thing about this tool is the large number of additional cloud-based plugins that can be included, the great technical support and regular updates it receives”, highlighted Osmar Yupanqui, GIS and Remote Sensing assistant at our Peruvian sister organization, Conservación Amazónica – ACCA and who was responsible for the training.
The team of park rangers at Los Amigos have indicated that this new tool will help them improve animal monitoring, the monitoring of environmental crimes and threats, and will allow them to produce alerts and reports in a more timely manner.