Peru lost 6.1 million hectares of primary forests or Amazonian virgin forest, a third of them since 2001, according to a report by the Andean Amazon Monitoring Project (MAAP) published today.
The report estimated that the Peruvian Amazon originally had 73.1 million hectares, but 8% of that area has been deforested in recent decades.
Peru still has 67 million hectares, an area larger than France, of which 48% are in protected natural areas, native communities with title to their lands and indigenous reserves for peoples in voluntary isolation.
In Loreto, the largest region of Peru, deforestation is concentrated around its capital Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as around the road to the city of Nauta and large-scale plantations of the company United Cacao that are located near the town of Tamshiyacu.
In the central forest, the largest vectors of deforestation are in the large-scale plantations of oil palm, around the cities of Pucallpa and Tarapoto and on both sides of the road between Tingo María, Aguaytía and Pucallpa.
In the southern zone, the loss of primary forest is concentrated around the southern inter-oceanic highway, with illegal mining on one side and migratory agriculture on the other.
It is known as primary forest that has an abundance of mature trees with species of the upper or dominant canopy that has evolved naturally.
The study was conducted with satellite images and data from the Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF) and the National Forest Conservation Program of Peru.
MAAP is a project of the American organization Amazon Conservation, which has as partners Amazon Conservation (ACCA) in Peru, Amazon Conservation Team in Colombia, and EcoCiencia in Ecuador.
The project is funded by the Canadian International Conservation Fund, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the US Moore Foundation and Conservation, Food and Health.