Twenty years of land cover change in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon: implications for biodiversity conservation

Abstract

The Amazonian ecosystems of Madre de Dios (MDD) region, considered Peru’s “capital of biodiversity” due to its impressive species richness, are threatened by the rapid expansion of infrastructure. The paving of the Interoceanic Highway in 2010 has brought rapid population growth and environmental degradation, threatening large-scale conservation efforts such as the Vilcabamba-Amboro Conservation Corridor (VACC). To quantify the impacts of development processes and to identify critical areas where further conservation efforts should be focused, we analyzed 20 years of land use and land cover (LULC) dynamics, drivers, and fragmentation patterns in MDD. We mapped LULC in 1993, 2003, and 2013 using Landsat imagery and modeled the proximate drivers of change related to deforestation, forest regrowth, gold mining, agriculture, and urban expansion in two time periods (1993–2003 and 2003–2013). We characterized habitat fragmentation patterns in four regional target areas. Our results show accelerated deforestation triggered by the road network spreading, mining and agriculture expansion, and population growth. LULC changes produced two contrasting spatial landscape patterns: numerous small forest fragments in the north due to agricultural expansion along the Interoceanic Highway and large continuous forest losses caused by gold mining expansion in the south. Current unplanned development in this region is threatening its outstanding biodiversity. We suggest that further conservation efforts should focus on strengthening the legal framework of the VACC, implementing a sustainable management plan for MDD, promoting agroforestry strategies along the Interoceanic Highway, and preserving smaller corridors for animal movement.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Almeida CM, Batty M, Monteiro AM, Camara G, Soares-Filho BS, Cerqueira GC, Pennachin CL (2003) Stochastic cellular automata modeling of urban land use dynamics: empirical development and estimation. Comput Environ Urban 27:481–509. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0198-9715(02)00042-X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alvarez NL, Naughton-Treves L (2003) Linking national agrarian policy to deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon: a case study of Tambopata, 1986–1997. Ambio 32:269–274. https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-32.4.269

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Alvarez-Berríos NL, Aide TM (2015) Global demand for gold is another threat for tropical forests. Environ Res Lett 10:014006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Alvarez-Berríos N, Campos-Cerqueira M, Hernández-Serna A, Delgado A, Román-Dañobeytia F, Aide TM (2016) Impacts of small-scale gold mining on birds and anurans near the Tambopata natural reserve, Peru, assessed using passive acoustic monitoring. Trop Conserv Sci 9:832–851. https://doi.org/10.1177/194008291600900216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Asner GP, Llactayo W, Tupayachi R, Luna ER (2013) Elevated rates of gold mining in the Amazon revealed through high-resolution monitoring. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:18454–18459. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1318271110

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Baca JF, Peschiera Cassinelli JR, Mesones J (2014) The impact of public expenditures in education, health, and infrastructure on economic growth and income distribution in Peru, working paper series, 490. Inter-American Development Bank, Lima, Peru

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bennett G, Mulongoy KJ (2006) Review of experience with ecological networks, corridors and buffer zones, technical series no 23. Secretariat of the convention on biological diversity, Montreal, Canada

  8. Bonham-Carter GF, Agterberg FP, Wright DF (1989) Weights of evidence modelling: a new approach to mapping mineral potential. In: Agterberg FP, Bonham-Carter GF (eds) Statistical applications in the earth sciences. Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, pp 171–183

    Google Scholar 

  9. Campbell C, Chicchón A, Schmink M (1998) Gender and intra-household impacts of community-based conservation and development initiatives in Peru and Brasil. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC

    Google Scholar 

  10. Ceballos G, Ehrlich PR (2006) Global mammal distributions, biodiversity hotspots, and conservation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:19374–19379. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0609334103

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. CEPF (2005) Tropical Andes hotspot: Vilcabamba-Amboró conservation corridor Peru and Bolivia briefing book. Critical ecosystems partnership fund and World Bank, Rio de Janeiro

    Google Scholar 

  12. Chavez AB (2014) Landscape dynamics of Amazonian deforestation between 1986 and 2007 in southeastern Peru: policy drivers and road implications. J Land Use Sci 9:414–437. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2013.807310

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Chavez A, Huamani Briceño L, Fernandez Menis R, Bejar Chura N, Valera Tito F, Perz S, Brown IF, Domínguez Del Aguila S, Pinedo Mora R, Alarcón Aguirre G (2013) Regional deforestation trends within local realities: land-cover change in southeastern Peru 1996–2011. Land 2:131–157. https://doi.org/10.3390/land2020131

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Chavez AB, Broadbent EN, Zambrano AMA (2014) Smallholder policy adoption and land cover change in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon: a twenty-year perspective. Appl Geogr 53:223–233

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Chazdon RL (2003) Tropical forest recovery: legacies of human impact and natural disturbances. Perspect Plant Ecol 6:51–71. https://doi.org/10.1078/1433-8319-00042

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Congalton RG, Green K (2008) Assessing the accuracy of remotely sensed data principles and practices, 2nd edn. CRS Press, Taylor and Francis Group London, UK

    Book  Google Scholar 

  17. Delgado C (2008) Is the interoceanic highway exporting deforestation? Master Dissertation, Duke University

  18. Dourojeanni MJ (2006) Estudio de caso sobre la carretera Interoceánica en la Amazonía sur del Perú. Bank Information Center, Lima

    Google Scholar 

  19. Escobal D’Angelo J (1992) Impacto de la política de precios y de crédito agrícola sobre la distribución del ingreso en el Perú: 1985-1990. Group for the analysis of development (GRADE), Lima

    Google Scholar 

  20. FAO (2016) Map accuracy assessment and area estimation: a practical guide, national forest monitoring assessment working paper No.46/E. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  21. Ferreira BM, Soares-Filho BS, Pereira FMQ (2019) The Dinamica EGO virtual machine. Sci Comput Program 173:3–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scico.2018.02.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Finer M, Novoa S (2015) La deforestación generada por la minería aurifera se expande desde Huepetuhe hacia la la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri (Madre de Dios, Perú). MAAP: #6. http://maaproject.org/2015/imagen-6-amarakaeri/. Accessed 01 Mar 2018

  23. Finer M, Jenkins CN, Pimm SL, Keane B, Ross C (2008) Oil and gas projects in the western Amazon: threats to wilderness, biodiversity, and indigenous peoples. PLoS One 3:e2932. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0002932

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Finer M, Olexy T, Novoa S (2016a) La mineria ilegal adentro la Reserva Nacional Tambopata supera 450 hectareas. MAAP: #46. http://maaproject.org/2016/tambopata-450/. Accessed 20 Sep 2018

  25. Finer M, Novoa S, Olexy T (2016b) Construcción de una nueva carretera entre Parque Nacional Manu y Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri (Madre de Dios), 2016. MAAP: #29. http://maaproject.org/2016/nueva_carretera_manu/. Accessed 10 Jun 2018

  26. Fischer J, Lindenmayer DB (2007) Landscape modification and habitat fragmentation: a synthesis. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 16:265–280. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00287.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Foley JA, Asner GP, Costa MH, Coe MT, DeFries R, Gibbs HK, Howard EA, Olson S, Patz J, Ramankutty N (2007) Amazonia revealed: forest degradation and loss of ecosystem goods and services in the Amazon Basin. Front Ecol Environ 5:25–32. https://doi.org/10.1890/1540-9295(2007)5[25:ARFDAL]2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. GBIF (2018) Global biodiversity information facility. https://www.gbif.org/occurrence/download/0015961-181003121212138. Accessed 20 Oct 2018

  29. Geist HJ, Lambin EF (2002) Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation: tropical forests are disappearing as the result of many pressures, both local and regional, acting in various combinations in different geographical locations. BioScience 52:143–150. https://doi.org/10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0143:PCAUDF]2.0.CO;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Giudice R, Soares-Filho BS, Merry F, Rodrigues HO, Bowman M (2012) Timber concessions in Madre de Dios: are they a good deal? Ecol Econ 77:158–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.02.024

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Global Forest Watch (2014) World Resources Institute. http://www.globalforestwatch.org/country/PER/18. Accessed 15 Sep 2018

  32. Goodacre A, Bonham-Carter G, Agterberg F, Wright D (1993) A statistical analysis of the spatial association of seismicity with drainage patterns and magnetic anomalies in western Quebec. Tectonophysics 217:285–305. https://doi.org/10.1016/0040-1951(93)90011-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Graesser J, Ramankutty N (2017) Detection of cropland field parcels from Landsat imagery. Remote Sens Environ 201:165–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2017.08.027

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Haddad NM, Brudvig LA, Clobert J, Davies KF, Gonzalez A, Holt RD, Lovejoy TE, Sexton JO, Austin MP, Collins CD (2015) Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems. Sci Adv 1:e1500052. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1500052

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Hansen MC, Loveland TR (2012) A review of large area monitoring of land cover change using Landsat data. Remote Sens Environ 122:66–74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2011.08.024

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Huertas B (2007) Autodeterminación y Protección. In: Parellada A (ed) Pueblos indígenas en aislamiento voluntario y contacto inicial en la Amazonía y el Gran Chaco. IWGIA: Grupo internacional de trabajo sobre asuntos indígenas, Copenhague, pp 42–59

    Google Scholar 

  37. INEI (2010) Sistema de información regional para la toma de decisiones (SIRTOD). Características generales del país Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. http://webinei.inei.gob.pe/SIRTOD/infgen.html#app=e739&6de7-selectedIndex=3. Accessed 20 May 2018

  38. INEI (2012) Sistema de información regional para la toma de decisiones (SIRTOD). Indicadores regionales Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. http://webinei.inei.gob.pe:8080/SIRTOD/inicio.html#. Accessed 5 May 2018

  39. INEI (2015) Anuario de estadísticas ambientales 2014 Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. https://www.inei.gob.pe/media/MenuRecursivo/publicaciones_digitales/Est/Lib1197/. Accessed 8 Jul, 2018

  40. Killen TJ (2007) A perfect storm in the amazon wilderness: development and conservation in the context of the initiative for the integration of the regional infrastructure of South America (IIRSA). In: Advances in applied biodiversity science (CABS), vol 7. Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, pp 1–98

  41. Kullback S (1978) Information theory and statistics. Peter Smith Inc, Gloucester

    Google Scholar 

  42. Land Mapper (2015) Land mapper application. Tropical Community Ecology Lab. University of Puerto Rico. http://sieveanalytics.wixsite.com/tceldraft http://mapper.arbimon.com/. Accessed 17 Jun 2016

  43. Laurance WF (1999) Reflections on the tropical deforestation crisis. Biol Conserv 91:109–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3207(99)00088-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Laurance WF, Goosem M, Laurance SG (2009) Impacts of roads and linear clearings on tropical forests. Trends Ecol Evol 24:659–669. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2009.06.009

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Liaw A, Wiener M (2002) Classification and regression by random forest. R News 2:18–22

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mateo S, Cornejo C (2006) Estrategia Regional de Diversidad Biológica de Madre de Dios. GOREMAD - Comisión Ambiental Regional de Madre de Dios and Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonia Peruana (Proyecto BIODAMAZ), Puerto Maldonado

    Google Scholar 

  47. Michalski F, Peres CA, Lake IR (2008) Deforestation dynamics in a fragmented region of southern Amazonia: evaluation and future scenarios. Environ Conserv 35:93–103. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0376892908004864

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. MINAM (2017) Pérdida de bosques según departamentos, 2001–2014 Ministerio del Ambiente. Programa Nacional de Conservación de Bosques para la Mitigación de Cambio Climático. http://www.inei.gob.pe/estadisticas/indice-tematico/deforestacion-reforestacion-y-bosques-8301/. Accessed 11 Jul 2018

  49. Molin PG, Gergel SE, Soares-Filho BS, Ferraz SFB (2017) Spatial determinants of Atlantic Forest loss and recovery in Brazil. Landsc Ecol 32:857–870. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-017-0490-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Novoa S, Finer M, Román F (2016) Regeneration of vegetation in zone affected by gold mining in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve MAAP: 44. http://maaproject.org/2016/amarakaeri-regen/. Accessed 06 Oct 2018

  51. Oliveira PJ, Asner GP, Knapp DE, Almeyda A, Galván-Gildemeister R, Keene S, Raybin RF, Smith RC (2007) Land-use allocation protects the Peruvian Amazon. Science 317:1233–1236. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1146324

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Olofsson P, Foody GM, Herold M, Stehman SV, Woodcock CE, Wulder MA (2014) Good practices for estimating area and assessing accuracy of land change. Remote Sens Environ 148:42–57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2014.02.015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Olson DM, Dinerstein E (2002) The global 200: priority ecoregions for global conservation. Ann Mo Bot Gard 89:199–224. https://doi.org/10.2307/3298564

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Osis R, Laurent F, Poccard-Chapuis R (2019) Spatial determinants and future land use scenarios of Paragominas municipality, an old agricultural frontier in Amazonia. J Land Use Sci:1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747423X.2019.1643422

  55. Parry L, Barlow J, Peres CA (2007) Large-vertebrate assemblages of primary and secondary forests in the Brazilian Amazon. J Trop Ecology 23:653–662. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266467407004506

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Pfaff A, Robalino J, Walker R, Aldrich S, Caldas M, Reis E, Perz S, Bohrer C, Arima E, Laurance W (2007) Road investments, spatial spillovers, and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. J Regional Sci 47:109–123. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9787.2007.00502.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Potapov P, Turubanova SA, Hansen MC, Adusei B, Broich M, Altstatt A, Mane L, Justice CO (2012) Quantifying forest cover loss in Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2000–2010, with Landsat ETM+ data. Remote Sens Environ 122:106–116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2011.08.027

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Potapov P, Siddiqui BN, Iqbal Z, Aziz T, Zzaman B, Islam A, Pickens A, Talero Y, Tyukavina A, Turubanova S, Hansen MC (2017) Comprehensive monitoring of Bangladesh tree cover inside and outside of forests, 2000-2014. Environ Res Lett 12. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa84bb

  59. REDPARQUES (2016) Regional report implementation of the program of work on protected areas 2011-2015: Amazonian biome region. Bogota, Colombia, pp 35–40

  60. Román-Dañobeytia F, Huayllani M, Michi A, Ibarra F, Loayza-Muro R, Vázquez T, Rodríguez L, García M (2015) Reforestation with four native tree species after abandoned gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecol Eng 85:39–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.09.075

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Rosenthal A, Stutzman H, Forsyth A (2012) Creating mosaic-based conservation corridors to respond to major threats in the Amazon headwaters. Ecol Res 30:296–299 http://muse.jhu.edu/article/491865

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Rossiter D (2004) Technical note: statistical methods for accuracy assessment of classified thematic maps. Department of Earth Systems Analysis University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science & Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede

    Google Scholar 

  63. Rutledge DT (2003) Landscape indices as measures of the effects of fragmentation: can pattern reflect process? DOC science international series 98. Development of Conservation, Wellington

    Google Scholar 

  64. Sánchez-Cuervo AM, Aide TM (2013) Consequences of the armed conflict, forced human displacement, and land abandonment on forest cover change in Colombia: a multi-scaled analysis. Ecosystems 16:1052–1070. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-013-9667-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Sánchez-Cuervo AM, Aide TM, Clark ML, Etter A (2012) Land cover change in Colombia: surprising forest recovery trends between 2001 and 2010. PLoS One 7:e43943. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043943

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Scullion JJ, Vogt KA, Sienkiewicz A, Gmur SJ, Trujillo C (2014) Assessing the influence of land-cover change and conflicting land-use authorizations on ecosystem conversion on the forest frontier of Madre de Dios, Peru. Biol Conserv 171:247–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.01.036

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. SERNANP (2017) Listado oficial de áreas naturales protegidas Servicio Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas, http://www.sernanp.gob.pe/documents/10181/147284/20171130_listado-anp.pdf/0520dc77-83a0-4f9a-b76f-c63addda409f. Accessed 18 Mar 2018

  68. Siddiqi N (2006) Credit risk scorecards: developing and implementing intelligent credit scoring. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken

    Google Scholar 

  69. Sistla SA, Roddy AB, Williams NE, Kramer DB, Stevens K, Allison SD (2016) Agroforestry practices promote biodiversity and natural resource diversity in Atlantic Nicaragua. PLoS One 11:e0162529. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162529

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Soares-Filho BS, Rodrigues H, Costa W (2009) Modeling environmental dynamics with Dinamica EGO, 115. Centro de Sensoriamento Remoto. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte

    Google Scholar 

  71. Soares-Filho B, Rodrigues H, Follador M (2013) A hybrid analytical-heuristic method for calibrating land-use change models. Environ Model Softw 43:80–87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.01.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Soares-Filho B, Rajão R, Macedo M, Carneiro A, Costa W, Coe M, Rodrigues H, Alencar A (2014) Cracking Brazil's Forest Code. Science 344:363–364. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1246663

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Southworth J, Munroe D, Nagendra H (2004) Land cover change and landscape fragmentation—comparing the utility of continuous and discrete analyses for a western Honduras region. Agric Ecosyst Environ 101:185–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2003.09.011

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Southworth J, Marsik M, Qiu Y, Perz S, Cumming G, Stevens F, Rocha K, Duchelle A, Barnes G (2011) Roads as drivers of change: trajectories across the trinational frontier in MAP, the southwestern Amazon. Remote Sens 3:1047–1066. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs3051047

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Swenson JJ, Carter CE, Domec J-C, Delgado CI (2011) Gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon: global prices, deforestation, and mercury imports. PLoS One 6:e18875. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018875

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Teixeira AMG, Soares-Filho BS, Freitas SR, Metzger JP (2009) Modeling landscape dynamics in an Atlantic rainforest region: implications for conservation. Forest Ecol Manag 257:1219–1230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2008.10.011

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Vuohelainen AJ, Coad L, Marthews TR, Malhi Y, Killeen TJ (2012) The effectiveness of contrasting protected areas in preventing deforestation in Madre de Dios, Peru. Environ Manag 50:645–663. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-012-9901-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Young BE, Stuart SN, Chanson JS, Cox NA, Boucher TM (2005) Disappearing jewels: the status of new world amphibians. Appl Herpetol 2:429–435

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank B. Crain, T. Pacheco, H.O. Rodrigues, and T.M. Aide for logistical, research, and technical assistance. We also thank anonymous reviewers for their input and comments.

Funding

This work was funded by Hunt Oil Exploration and Production Company of Peru and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. This is publication #57 of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Peru Biodiversity Program.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ana María Sánchez-Cuervo.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Communicated by Jasper van Vliet

Electronic supplementary material

ESM 1
figure6

(PNG 1360 kb)

High Resolution (EPS 19998 kb)

ESM 2

(PDF 497 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sánchez-Cuervo, A.M., de Lima, L.S., Dallmeier, F. et al. Twenty years of land cover change in the southeastern Peruvian Amazon: implications for biodiversity conservation. Reg Environ Change 20, 8 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-020-01603-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Deforestation
  • Proximate drivers of change
  • Gold mining
  • Landscape patterns
  • Madre de Dios