The first collection of maps, generated from the analysis of satellite images, offers a detailed vision of natural areas and the expansion of spaces transformed by human action between 1985 and 2022

Currently, approximately 23% of the Venezuelan territory is occupied by anthropic areas, while the rest of the country mainly consists of natural areas with varying degrees of intervention and threat. Seventy four percent of Venezuelan forests are located south of the Orinoco River, while 94% of the areas that have been transformed due to agricultural activities are located to the north. There are two Venezuelas: one in the north, where more than 90% of the population, urban centers, and major infrastructure are concentrated; and another in the south, characterized by vast natural landscapes and significant mineral deposits, the exploitation of which has led to the transformation of both the natural and cultural landscapes.

These are some of the main findings of the first collection of annual land cover and land use maps (1985 to 2022) for Venezuelan territory by MapBiomas Venezuela presented on Tuesday (14) during an online event.

The MapBiomas Venezuela initiative offers an innovative tool for understanding the dynamics of natural resource utilization in the country and assessing the extent of changes in both natural landscapes and areas affected by human activity. These changes are depicted through maps generated from satellite image analysis. The data reveals that since 1985, a total of 77,300 km2 of natural cover has been lost nationwide. Additionally, agricultural activity has increased by 54% over the past 38 years, resulting in the transformation of not only forests but also significant grassland ecosystems and bushlands.

Of the natural covers that have been transformed since 1985, approximately 72,800 km2 (> 94%) were lost north of the Orinoco River. This is equivalent to an area slightly greater than twice the total surface area of the state of Barinas. Thus, while in 1985 the largest coverage north of the Orinoco River was forest formations (38%), the situation is very different 37 years later. In the north of the country, areas altered by agricultural use now predominate, covering 43% of this region.

Unlike what has occurred north of the Orinoco, the panorama in the south is different. In this part of the country, approximately 6,100 km2 of forest formations have been lost since 1985, which is not greater than the surface area of the state of Aragua. Therefore, forests still occupy the largest area, covering nearly 77% of the region. Similar to the north, agricultural use has been the primary driver of human-induced transformation, increasing by 3,700 km2 since 1985. However, agricultural use now only covers 2.6% of the total surface area south of the Orinoco. On the other hand, although mining impacts relatively small areas (approximately 712.8 km2 by 2022), its effect on indigenous landscapes and communities is significant. These extractive activities disrupt large-scale ecological processes beyond the immediate mining areas, although this impact is not always evident when observing coverage patterns from space.

MapBiomas Venezuela data, which is publicly accessible and free, holds strategic potential as a mapping and analysis tool. It provides insights into the past and present, enabling us to plan for the future.

It is crucial to emphasize the groundbreaking nature of MapBiomas Venezuela as an instrument that will help all Venezuelans in building a better country. Decision-makers at both regional and national levels will gain a comprehensive understanding of the country's history, including where and how natural coverage and land use have changed. This knowledge will support decision-making processes based on up-to-date spatial data. Researchers will benefit from a detailed historical dataset of changes, allowing them to focus their conservation efforts and evaluate the effectiveness of different protected areas in preserving biodiversity and natural resources. Even for the average citizen and students, this tool will encourage exploration of regional changes in their respective states, facilitating the identification of environmental changes caused by urban development, agricultural expansion, and deforestation. This will hopefully foster interest in conservation efforts and provide valuable information for a better understanding of the impacts of climate change in the country.

The objective of MapBiomas Venezuela is to continuously improve and update the information on an annual basis, while also incorporating new topics and modules. The results of these efforts will be publicly available through the MapBiomas Venezuela interactive platform, ensuring free access to this valuable information.


The MapBiomas Venezuela plataform is a tool that allows anyone with Internet access to view and analyze changes in land cover and land use throughout Venezuela, as well as pressures on natural ecosystems. The information generated covers all of Venezuela's states, allowing quantification of the 20 categories described in the legend, including forests, pastures, shrubs, agricultural areas, urban areas and bodies of water, among others. This information is freely accessible and available for download.

Through the platform, users can explore the collection of annual maps spanning from 1985 to 2022. It enables the identification of changes in land cover and land use at the national, state, or municipal level within a specified period (such as a year, five-year period, or decade). The tool also presents statistics in dynamic tables and graphs, showcasing changes in land use over the selected time frame. Additionally, it allows for an understanding of the dynamic changes that can be examined from various spatial units, such as states, municipalities, physiographic provinces, protected natural areas, hydrographic basins, and indigenous territories, among others.