Regional Deforestation Trends within Local Realities: Land-Cover Change in Southeastern Peru 1996-2011

"Estimating deforested areas and deforestation rates have become key steps for quantifying environmental services of tropical rain forests, particularly as linked to programs such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). In Southeastern Peru, reliable estimates of land-cover change (LCC) are important for monitoring changes in the landscape due to agricultural expansion, pasture creation and other socio-economic influences triggered by the Inter-Oceanic Highway (IOH). Our study reports a land-use/land-cover change (LULCC) analysis during a 15-year period from 1996 to 2011 in the Province of Tahuamanu, Madre de Dios. We draw on multiple years of observations of LULCC to relate changes in land cover to the use of natural resources (pasture, timber, crops and forest products) and tenure types based on their distances from the highway and the Tahuamanu River. We are able to distinguish titled areas for agriculture close to the IOH from other land tenure types such as timber concessions. The findings show that LULCC varies among different types of land tenure and by distance from the highway. Agricultural areas close to transportation infrastructure within 1 km to 5 km buffers have gradually increased in non-forest areas, whereas timber concession areas away from 1 km buffer of secondary roads have maintained forest cover. Riverine settlements show a similar distance effect in forest clearance along rivers as along roads."
deforestation, land tenure and use, landscape change