About This Project
By almost any metric—species counts, endemism, plant diversity, animal diversity, ecosystem diversity—the eastern Andean slopes and adjacent Amazonian lowlands of southeastern Peru support unsurpassed biological richness. Today, vast mining, forestry, petroleum concessions, and a recently completed highway crossing the region to link the soybean fields of interior Brazil with Peruvian ports, threaten the ecological integrity of the region. Concurrently, the Peruvian government has granted departmental governments primary authority to enforce environmental regulation and mandated them to carry out land-use planning (“Ordenamiento Territorial”). In this natural and political context, NatureServe worked with partners and government agencies in the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios to build local capacity for the use of modern land-use planning tools to allow simultaneous assessment of social, economic, and biodiversity values.
Our planning scenarios included modeled distributions of the potential extent of productive land uses (cattle, corn, and forestry) given economic opportunities emerging from the improved transportation network. Findings identified areas of conflict between our results and some of the Ordenamiento Territorial outcomes, as well as the need to increase the existing protected areas in 16,000 km2 or 50 percent of additional managed territory.