MAAP Synthesis #2: Patterns and Drivers of Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

February 14, 2017

We present our second synthesis report, building off our first report published in September 2015. This synthesis is largely based on the 50 MAAP reports published between April 2015 and November 2016. The objective is to synthesize all the information to date regarding deforestation trends, patterns and drivers in the Peruvian Amazon.

MAAP methodology includes 4 major components: Forest loss detection, Prioritize big data, Identify deforestation drivers, and Publish user-friendly reports. See Methodology section below for more details.

Our major findings include:

  • Trends. During the 15 years between 2001 and 2015, around 4,448,000 acres (1,800,000 hectares) of Peruvian Amazon forest has been cleared, with a steadily increasing trend. 2014 had the highest annual forest loss on record (438,775 acres), followed by a slight decrease  in 2015. The preliminary estimate for 2016 indicates that forest loss remains relatively high. The vast majority (80%) of forest loss events in the Peruvian Amazon are small-scale (<5 hectares), while large-scale events (> 50 hectares) pose a latent threat due to new agro-industrial projects.
  • Hotspots. We have identified at least 8 major deforestation hotspots. The most intense hotspots are located in the central Amazon (Huánuco and Ucayali). Other important hotspots are located in Madre de Dios and San Martin. Two protected areas (Tambopata National Reserve and El Sira Communal Reserve) are threatened by these hotspots.
  • Drivers. We present an initial deforestation drivers map for the Peruvian Amazon. Analyzing high-resolution satellite imagery, we have documented six major drivers of deforestation and degradation: small/medium-scale agriculture, large-scale agriculture, cattle pasture, gold mining, illegal coca cultivation, and roads. Small-scale agriculture and cattle pasture are likely the most dominant drivers overall. Gold mining is a major driver in southern Peru. Large-scale agriculture and major new roads are latent threats. Logging roads are likely a major source of forest degradation in central Peru.