Analysis of the Socio-Environmental Impacts of a proposed highway in the Amazon borderlands of Peru

Authors: M. Riley Place*, University of Richmond, H. Tereza Hernandez, University of Richmond, David S. Salisbury, University of Richmond, Stephanie Spera, University of Richmond
Topics: Transportation Geography, Latin America, Environment
Keywords: Amazonia, Roads, Peru, GIS analysis, remote sensing
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: Download

Road building is increasingly promoted in the borderlands shared by Peru and Brazil despite an incomplete understanding of the socio-environmental impacts of transportation infrastructure in the region. Amazonian roads often expand informally, without official government process, previous consultation by Indigenous populations, and environmental impact statements.. Amazonian road expansion also often follows a progressive feedback cycle, with new, unplanned roads begetting illegal logging pathways and agricultural expansion which in turn expands and formalizes road systems. One expanding road system is developing between the Ucayali River and the remote headwaters of the Yurua/Jurua River. The Carretera Yurua (officially trail UC-105), extended approximately 300 km long in August 2020. Existing research suggests that the unplanned construction of the Yurua road, which originally began as informal logging roads extending off a road to explore fossil fuels, could result in significant land changes and will facilitate ranching, additional illegal timber harvesting, and coca farming, threatening global biodiversity hotspots and conservation areas, and endangered Indigenous cultures and territories. This research spatially analyzes the different waterways, cultural territories, conservation areas and other administrative units crossed by the proposed road. Additional analysis includes the deforestation footprint and downstream impacts of the road. Methods include GIS analysis and remote sensing along with document and internet research of news articles, legal documents, social media communications, interviews from key actors, and studies of similar infrastructure projects in the bio-culturally diverse Amazon borderlands.

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