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Mapping Deforestation in Bolivia

HERENCIA, a Bolivian NGO that promotes sustainable development in the Amazon, recently mapped deforestation in Bolivia’s northernmost department of Pando.  The organization’s GIS unit analyzed freely-available imagery from Landsat 5 TM with CLASlite across the 6.4 million hectare department.


The study found that between 1985 and 2011, Pando lost 328,577 hectares of forest, approximately 5.1% of the total area and 5.8% of the forested area of the department.




Of this total detected deforestation, 95 thousand ha (29%) were cleared prior to 2000, with 136 thousand ha (41%) deforested between 2000 and 2006, 33 thousand ha (10%) between 2006 and 2008 and 61 thousand ha (18%) between 2008 and 20011.  These results demonstrated an increasing trend in the rate of deforestation over time.




The analysis determined that the deforestation situation in Pando is critical.  While much of the department remains covered by forest, the acceleration of deforestation from 2000-2005 threatens remaining forest cover over time.  High resolution maps generated with CLASlite enabled technicians to evaluate the spatial distribution of deforestation relative to political boundaries, rivers, and roads.


Story adapted from a report by Hugo Fuentes and Pablo Vidaurre of HERENCIA.  Report is part of a larger book entitled Environmental State of Pando up to 2012 to be presented by HERENCIA later in year.