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Small oil palm plantations are having big impacts on Peru rainforest

October 28, 2016

Small oil palm plantations are having big impacts on Peru rainforest

28 October 2016 / Benji Jones

A closer look at a deforestation “hotspot” in central Peru finds oil palm expansion to be the primary driver of forest loss. That’s according to a recent report by Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), which analyzed high-resolution satellite imagery in one of several patches of deforestation spattering the central Peruvian Amazon.

Earlier this year, MAAP identified several deforestation hotspots in Peru, each indicating an area where a high density of forest loss was detected in 2015. And a clear trend was evident: Most hotspots were found in the central Amazon, home to the country’s highest deforestation rates, in addition to myriad endemic plants and animals.

Since unveiling the hotspots in March, MAAP has used satellite imagery to investigate the likely drivers of deforestation in each area. Their earlier analyses pegged cattle ranching as the main reason behind forest clearance. Released last week, MAAP’s latest analysis revealed another driver of forest loss in the region – oil palm development.

High-resolution satellite imagery shows unequivocal signs of oil palm in a hotspot located in northern Huánuco Department, write MAAP researchers. They estimate that 558 hectares of forest were razed in this region to establish small and medium-scale plantations between 2010 and 2014.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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