Since 2010 the Instituto del Bien Común (IBC) has been monitoring the progress of historical and recent deforestation in Peru, as a tool for the management of the territory, with an emphasis on the Putumayo Amazonas and Pachitea Basin landscapes which correspond to its areas of intervention. Monitoring has shown with figures that indigenous territories and protected natural areas are barriers to deforestation. These areas represent only 17% of deforestation that occurred between 2000 and 2015 throughout the Peruvian Amazon. Similar percentages were found in analyses conducted In Loreto, the Pachitea Basin (provinces of Puerto Inca and Oxapampa), the Northwest Amazon of Peru (Loreto and Amazonas) and the Kakataibo Indigenous Landscape (Ucayali).
While the role of indigenous territories as a barrier to deforestation has been demonstrated, more recent analyses reveal that these territories are experiencing increasing difficulty in curbing deforestation caused by external factors, such as illegal loggers and illegal coca crops, such is the case of the Kakataibo Indigenous Landscape.
Deforestation maps of the Peruvian Amazon 2000 – 2015
Deforestation maps of the Loreto Region 2000 – 2013
Pachitea Basin deforestation maps 2000 – 2013
Kakataibo Territory deforestation maps 1995 – 2017
Deforestation in the Northeast Amazon 2000 – 2015 (article and maps)
Deforestation in the Northwest Amazon 2000 – 2015 (article and maps)
A Pan Amazonian Alliance
As a representative of Peru within the RAISG Amazon Network, which integrates eight civil society organizations from the Amazonian countries, IBC has been working since 2010 on the deforestation monitoring at the Pan-Amazonian level, within the framework of RAISG. It also monitors deforestation in Peru.
State-of-the-art tools developed within the RAISG framework are used for monitoring. Initially, the ImgTools software developed by one of the members of the Network, IMAZON of Brazil, was used, and the common protocols, jointly built by the member organizations, were applied. The development of these protocols required intense work, under IMAZON’s guidance, and involved capacity building in each of the member institutions of the Network. From there, it was possible to generate deforestation maps covering the entire Amazon in the same period, with a common legend, the same conceptual and technical criteria to define the categories of analysis, and using common inputs: Landsat Satellite Images (5, 7 and 8).
In 2017, RAISG established the MapBiomas Amazonía initiative in consortium with Brazil’s MapBiomas network. In this context, more advanced technology was adopted, which allows data to be processed in the cloud, mainly on the Google Earth Engine platform, and process automation through the use of Machine Learning (Random Forest). This has meant an increase in processing accuracy and speed, and increased project sustainability through access to free satellite images and software. It has also allowed to expand the range of the analysis: in addition to deforestation, it is now possible to monitor changes in land cover and land use. For Peru, the study area has been extended to the basin headwaters, including the Andean area of the Atlantic slope. Deforestation maps are derived from land-use and coverage maps.
RAISG seeks to inform decision-making by generating socio-environmental information of the Pan Amazon with a comprehensive vision, suitable for the proper management of the region, thus transcending the dispersion imposed by Amazonian countries’ borders.
Analysis of carbon content in Indigenous Territories and Natural Protected Areas
In addition to monitoring land use change, since 2013 RAISG, in consortium with Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), has been developing innovative research, analyzing the forest carbon content of the Amazon, with an emphasis on losses within and outside indigenous territories and protected natural areas. This initiative has a climate change mitigation approach, as deforestation and degradation of Amazonian forests have an impact on climate change by releasing to the atmosphere forest carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, one of the gases that cause the greenhouse effect. IBC has been developing this work for the Peru component of RAISG.
1st scientific paper, published in the journal Carbon Management in 2014. This research found that by 2007 more than 52% of forest carbon in the Amazon was stored in indigenous territories and natural protected areas. This finding, disseminated during COP 20 in Lima, contributed to the visibility of indigenous peoples in forest conservation and their forest carbon content.
2nd scientific paper, published in the journal PNAS in 2019. The analysis confirms the importance of indigenous territories in the Amazon for climate change mitigation. Of the total carbon emissions in the Amazon, only 10% is derived from areas within indigenous territories and/or protected natural areas.
The Role of Forest Conversion, Degradation, and Disturbance in the Carbon Dynamics of Amazon Indigenous Territories and Protected Areas.The Role of Forest Conversion, Degradation, and Disturbance in the Carbon Dynamics of Amazon Indigenous Territories and Protected Areas”.