MAAP #78: Deforestation Hotspots in the Peruvian Amazon, 2017

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Base Map (Image 78). Data: PNCB/MINAM, UMD/GLAD, SERNANP

As we begin a new year, we make an initial assessment of 2017, estimating deforestation hotspots in the Peruvian Amazon based on early warning alert data.*

We estimate the annual forest loss of 354,410 acres (143,425 hectares) across Peru in 2017. If confirmed, this total represents the lowest in 5 years (average of 394,600 acres since 2012), and a decrease of 13% from last year.**

Deforestation, however, is still widespread. The base map shows the most intense hotspots (areas with highest density of forest loss).

The two main deforestation areas are clearly seen: the central Amazon (Ucayali/Huánuco regions) and the southern Amazon (Madre de Dios). Also, there are several additional hotspots scattered throughout the country.

We present satellite images (slider format) of the most intense hotspots. The images reveal that the main deforestation drivers include gold mining, oil palm, and general agriculture (crops and livestock).

The hotspots detailed below are:

A. Central Amazon (Ucayali/Huánuco)
B. Southern Madre de Dios
C. Iberia (Madre de Dios)
D. Northeast San Martín
E. Nieva (Amazonas)

A. Central Amazon (Ucayali/Huánuco)

As in previous years, there is a concentration of high intensity hotspots in the central Peruvian Amazon (Ucayali and Huánuco regions). We estimate the deforestation of 57,430 acres (23,240 hectares) in this hotspot during 2017. The images show that the main drivers are likely cattle ranching and oil palm plantations. Image 78a is a slider showing an example of the deforestation in this hotspot during 2017.

Image 78a. Central Amazon. Data: Planet, NASA/USGS

B. Southern Madre de Dios

As described in MAAP #75, Madre de Dios has become one of the regions with the highest rates of deforestation in Peru, with a concentration along the Interoceanic highway. We estimate the deforestation of 27,465 acres (11,115 hectares) in southern Madre de Dios during 2017. Image 78b is a slider showing the extensive deforestation that occurred in this area during 2017. The images show that the main drivers are gold mining (south of the highway) and small to medium-scale agriculture (north of the road).

Image 78b. South Madre de Dios. Data: Planet

C. Iberia (Madre de Dios)

On the other side of Madre de Dios, near the border with Brazil, another hotspot is located around the town of Iberia. We estimate the deforestation of 7,955 acres (3,220 hectares) in this hotspot during 2017.  Image 78c is a slider showing deforestation in the area of the hotspot west of Iberia (known as Pacahuara). The images show that the main deforestation driver is small to medium-scale agriculture (according to local sources, the main crops include corn, papaya, and cacao).

Image 78c. Iberia. Data: Planet

D. Northeast of San Martín

A new hotspot emerged in the northeast corner San Martin due to a large-scale agriculture plantation. Image 78d is a slider that shows the deforestation of 1,830 acres (740 hectares) during the last several months of 2017. The Peruvian Environment Ministry has confirmed that the cause is a new oil palm plantation. Indeed, this new deforestation is close to an area that has experienced extensive deforestation for oil palm plantations in recent years (see MAAP #16).

Image 78d. San Martin. Data: Planet

E. Nieva (Amazonas)

In northwestern Peru, there is a new isolated hotspot along a road connecting the towns of Bagua and Saramiriza in the district of Nieva (Amazonas region). We estimate the deforestation of 2,805 acres (1,135 hectares) in this hotspot during 2017. Image 78e is a slider that shows an example of the recent deforestation. The images show that the cause of deforestation is mostly small-scale agriculture and cattle pasture.

Image 78e. Nieva. Data: Planet


*We emphasize that the data presented in this report are estimates based on early warning alert data generated by: 1) GLAD/UMD (Hansen et al 2016 ERL 11: (3)), and 2) the National Program for Forest Conservation for Climate Change Mitigation of the Ministry of the Environment of Peru (PNCB/MINAM). The official forest loss data are produced annually by  PNCB/MINAM.

**According to official PNCB/MINAM data, forest loss in 2016 was 164,662 hectares. The average of the last 5 years (2012-16) was 159,688 hectares.


A. -8.289977,-75.415649
B. -12.969013,-69.918365; -12.872639,-70.263062
C. -11.304257,-69.635468
D. -6.26539,-75.800171
E. -4.972954,-78.21167


Planet Team (2017). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA.


Finer M, Mamani N, García R, Novoa S (2018) Deforestation Hotspots in the Peruvian Amazon, 2017. MAAP: 78.

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