Puerto Maldonado, Peru: The newly paved Interoceanic Highway, is stymieing the goal of Antonio Brack, Peru’s first Environment Minister. Brack vowed for zero net deforestation by 2021. Satellite images and other data suggest carbon emissions from deforestation rose by more than 60 percent between 2006 and 2010, coinciding with increased mining and the resurfaced highway.
The road runs from the Pacific Coast to the Brazilian border, opening Brazil’s markets for China trade. The stretch from Madre de Dios to the Andean highlands, virtually impossible in the rainy season just a few years back, is now a long day trip.
Brack downplays the highway’s impact, noting that the road has existed for decades and the only change is the asphalt. But satellite images show deforestation increasing along the route. Officials claim that mining is the prime reason of deforestation. It has led to the clearing of some 150,000 hectares of forest.