A new report released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) used Carnegie Airborne Observatory data to expose a chocolate (cacao) producer linked to the deforestation of primary Amazonian rainforest. United Cacao denied any illegal forest clearing, saying that the forests in question were degraded prior to agricultural expansion; however, the map of carbon density generated by the CAO proved otherwise.
Research by the Asner lab found that Peru’s rainforests store nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stock. “We mapped the carbon content of these forests in question, immediately before they were deforested. The carbon levels were extremely high, indicating that they were large, intact forests that we normally picture when we think of primary Amazon forest”, noted Greg Asner of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory.
The EIA report states that United Cacao has been actively seeking new private properties as well as publicly held land within the Amazon for additional development.
The CAO will continue exploring Peru’s rainforests in 2015, providing new information on biodiversity, carbon stocks and land-use change throughout the country, including in areas of known activity by deforesters for cacao and other agricultural products like oil palm.
Image Caption: The geography of aboveground carbon density throughout Perú, derived at a 1-ha resolution, using the CAO.