Nuts About Gold: Competition for Land in Madre de Dios, Peru

Springer Nature,


DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-33628-2_7, Dimensions: pub.1009993395,


Joshi, Neha * (1)

* Corresponding author



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU






Natural forests are being lost at unsustainable rates as frontiers of development advance and global demand for natural resources increases. This chapter examines two challenges to tropical forest conservation—the demand for use of land for multiple and continuous spatially and temporally linked purposes, and the gaps in our knowledge to fully understand and characterize resulting land cover change dynamics. This chapter uses the case of the biodiversity hot spot of Madre de Dios in Peru as an example. Here, land-use competition is largely resultant from mutually exclusive activities of Brazil nut harvesting, which depends on intact primary forest, development through construction of the Interoceanic Highway and legal and illegal mining of gold. The analysis compares areas with authorized land-use allocations against remotely sensed satellite data to identify past land cover change events and areas of potential land-use competition and conflict. Based on the case study, this chapter illustrates the increasing importance of distal and transnational commodity demands as a driver for land-use change. Further, it discusses the advantages and caveats of spatially and temporally explicit quantification of change using remote sensing techniques. For the latter, it focusses on issues of simplicity and system boundary definitions that may overlook relevant connections to distal drivers and forest/non-forest functions. This chapter concludes that teleconnected systems that drive local land-use and land cover change (LULCC) must be accounted for when mapping land disturbance dynamics, and discusses the potential paths that remote sensing analysis may take to understand and address these challenges.

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