Case Study: Scenario Planning for Sustainable Development in Peru's Amazon Forest
Madre de Dios, located in the foothills of Peru’s tropical Andes, is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The region has renowned protected areas and initial land-use plans, which makes sustainable development a challenge. In 2014, a hydrocarbon company began gas exploration activities in Madre de Dios as part of the government’s economic development needs. The work overlapped a protected area, called the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, and included several Indigenous territories.
There were concerns that energy exploration would open the area to illegal mining and deforestation. Local communities feared it would impact their forest and livelihoods. This case study explores how researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Sustainability used scenario planning to help the company and regional government minimize social and environmental impacts in Madre de Dios and create a strategy for sustainable development.
Madre de Dios is located within the Vilcabamba-Amboró conservation corridor, which connects about 74 million acres (30 million hectares) of wildlife habitat between Peru and Bolivia. The corridor is the most biologically diverse ecosystem in the world. Dividing Madre de Dios and the conservation corridor is the Interoceanic Highway, which connects ports on the Atlantic coast of Brazil to those on the Pacific coast of Peru.