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Peru’s deforestation rate surged in 2005

Peru’s deforestation rate surged in 2005

Peru’s deforestation rate surged in 2005
Rhett Butler
August 30, 2007

Peru’s deforestation rates surged in 2005, according to new analysis published in the journal Science.

Deforestation rates in Peru, 1999-2005

Comparison of deforestation rates in Brazil and Peru between 1999 and 2005. Images by Rhett A. Butler

Using high resolution satellite data from the Peruvian Amazon, a team led by Stanford University scientists found a marked increase in forest disturbance and clearance for the 2004-2005 year. Forest degradation for the year — including 1,174 square kilometers of forest cleared and 1,070 disturbed — was about 175 percent of the mean for the six-year period examined.

The researchers say that new logging concessions appear to have been a factor in the increase in forest disturbance between 2003 and 2005. Higher commodity prices for agricultural products may have also played a part.

The research nonetheless revealed some positive results.

“Overall, only 2% of the forest disturbances and 1% the deforestation detected in the entire study area occurred within the boundaries of natural protected areas. Furthermore, territories occupied by indigenous communities contained 11% and 9% of the total forest disturbance and deforestation, respectively,” wrote the authors. “These results clearly show that these two forms of land-use allocation can provide effective protection against forest damage.”

Peru has some 661,000 square kilometers of tropical forests—an area a little larger than France—and one of the lowest annual deforestation rates in the Amazon basin.

More details on the research can be found at Experts: parks effectively protect rainforest in Peru.

CITATION: P.J.C. Oliveira, G.P. Asner, D.E. Knapp, A. Almeyda, R. F. Raybin, A. Almeyda, R. Galván-Gildemeister, R.C. Smith, and S. Keene. (2007). Land-Use Allocation Protects the Peruvian Amazon. SCIENCE VOL 317 31 AUGUST 2007

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