Indigenous lands ’critical’ to forest protection in Peru, biodiversity maps show
New maps of forest biodiversity in Peru illustrate the importance of lands held by indigenous peoples in safeguarding a wide variety of forest types, even as more formal protections such as parks and reserves fall a little bit short.
“Peru has a pretty good report card overall” in how the country protects its 76 million hectares (293,438 square miles) of forests, said Greg Asner, a global ecologist from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) in Stanford, California, who led the research. The research found that nearly 43 percent of forests in the Andes or the Amazon benefited from some sort of protection.
But as Asner and his colleagues layered the data gathered from the skies above Peru with maps of the country’s local, regional and national protected areas, a “really surprising” conclusion stood out: “These indigenous lands are just critical in the portfolio of protections in Peru today,” Asner said in an interview. They published their research in the June 2017 edition of the journal Biological Conservation.