The Future of Madre de Dios: Smithsonian's Working Landscape Simulator for Sustainable Development
Madre de Dios in Peru is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, and it is a central piece for connecting protected areas within the Vilcabamba–Amboró Conservation Corridor. As revealed with satellite imagery, the exceptional landscape of Madre de Dios is threatened by unplanned development along the Interoceanic Highway, which bisects the region from north to south. Land-use changes in the last 25 years have reduced landscape connectivity and degraded the ecosystem services on which Madre de Dios’s inhabitants rely. The Smithsonian Center for Conservation and Sustainability developed a new tool to help Madre de Dios’s stakeholders define a common vision for the future of their region: the Smithsonian Working Landscape Simulator. The Future of Madre de Dios presents the framework and implementation of this participatory, holistic, and quantitative tool. The study contemplates four scenarios of future changes for the region: current trends, expansion of alluvial gold mining, land planning, and landscape conservation. The land-cover changes expected under each scenario until 2040 are modelled, and the resulting landscapes are evaluated for 15 indicators of success, covering economic prosperity, human well-being, and environmental integrity. This book illustrates the results from these analyses and presents recommendations that will contribute to the promotion of sustainable development in Madre de Dios.