MAAP #75: Pope to Visit Madre De Dios, Region With Deforestation Crisis (Peru)

December 17, 2017

Table 75. Data: PNBC/MINAM (2001-16), UMD/GLAD (2017, until the first week of November).
Table 75. Data: PNBC/MINAM (2001-16), UMD/GLAD (2017, until the first week of November).

Pope Francis, as part of his upcoming visit to Peru in January, will visit the Madre de Dios region in the southern Peruvian Amazon. He is expected to address issues facing the Amazon and its indigenous communities, including deforestation.

In this article, we show that Madre de Dios is experiencing a deforestation crisis, due mainly to impacts from gold mining, small-scale agriculture, and roads.

Table 76 shows the increasing trend of annual forest loss since 2001, peaking in 2017. In fact, in 2017 forest loss exceeded 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres) for the first time, doubling the loss in 2008.*

The table also shows the ranking of Madre de Dios in respect to the annual forest loss compared to all other regions of the Peruvian Amazon (see red line). For the first time, Madre de Dios is the region with the second highest forest loss total, behind only Ucayali.

Next, we present a map of deforestation hotspots in Madre de Dios in 2017, along with satellite images of a number of the most intense hotspots.

*The total estimated forest loss in 2017 was based on early warnings alerts generated by the University of Maryland (GLAD alerts) and the Peruvian Environment Ministry (PNCB/MINAM). The estimate is 20,826 hectares as of the first week of November.