Monitoring deforestation with satellites and drones

Boosting near real-time monitoring capabilities in the Peruvian Amazon.


Amazon Conservation Association (ACA)

This project aims to help counteract increasing deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon by boosting near real-time monitoring capabilities of government, civil society, and local landholders.

Why: Near real-time deforestation monitoring needed in Peru

The Peruvian Amazon still maintains large tracts of mega-diverse, carbon-rich forest, making it one of the top conservation priorities in the world. However, the array of threats facing Peru’s remaining forests is constantly increasing and new techniques are needed to minimize future loss.

Our project directly confronts four key problems that are hindering conservation and management efforts in the Peruvian Amazon. First, there is a lack of timely deforestation information and synthesis. Second, there is a need to improve coordination with government regarding how deforestation information is utilized to impact policy.

Third, there is a lack of capacity to verify and identify drivers of deforestation identified by remote satellites. Fourth, forestry concessionaires in the southern Peruvian Amazon (department of Madre de Dios) are poorly equipped to monitor their land and deter invasions by miners and squatters.


NOK 25 million over five years (2016 – 2020)

What: National and regional programs to strengthen near real-time monitoring

Amazon Conservation Association, in close collaboration with its Peruvian sister organization Conservación Amazónica/ACCA, will lead a number of innovative initiatives designed to effectively address all four problems stated above.

First, we will continue developing and improving the independent near-real time deforestation monitoring system based on satellite imagery, known as MAAP. Second, we will lead efforts to create and maintain a functional national-level working group between government and civil society to discuss key technical, political, and applied issues related to near real-time deforestation information.

Third, we will establish a drones training center in the department of Madre de Dios in the southern Peruvian Amazon (and provide scholarships to key actors in the public and private sector). Fourth, we will build the capability of local forestry concessionaires to monitor concessions and present strong technical information to solidify legal complaints.

Relatedly, we will also assist public environmental prosecutors improve their capacity to detect and prosecute environmental crimes using cutting edge technology, such as drones and satellites. The principal theory of change, based on previous experience of both lead implementing organizations, is that employing a multidisciplinary approach (field work, remote sensing, and policy) at both national and regional scales is essential to overcoming complex problems in the Amazon.

Expected results: Effective near real-time forest monitoring in Peru

After implementation of this project, we expect a number of key results. At the national level, Peruvian government and civil society will have an effective and transparent near real-time deforestation monitoring system. At the regional level, civil society, private sector, and government officials will have the technical capacity to use drones to monitor deforestation and use this information to protect landholdings from invasion.


Project led by Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) and in partnership with Conservación Amazónica (ACCA), Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA), and Wake Forest University.

About the project descriptions

The project descriptions give insight in the NICFI portfolio for civil society organisations supported by Norad. 

The descriptions presented are written by the project partners. Only minor edits have been undertaken by Norad. Their presentations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Norad.

Published 08.06.2016
Last updated 13.06.2016