Rising Gold Prices Drive Rampant Clearing of Peruvian Amazon

The spread of illegal gold mining in southern Peru has driven a growth in deforestation so rampant that government officials may declare an environmental emergency, according to a news report. As the global

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Peru Gold Mining

Rhett Butler/Mongabay
Aerial view of Peru gold mine
price of gold has climbed, mining operations in the Amazon have extended into the fringes of Tambopata Nature Reserve, an important region for ecotourism, with miners beginning operations without necessary permits, according Mongabay.com. In some cases, miners have started operations within the reserve itself, using dredges and massive suction equipment to search for gold in rivers and creeks. Ecologists warn that enormous swaths of remote and biodiverse forest are being cleared before scientists have even been able to completely assess their value. “This [area] is often blanketed in clouds. It’s poorly known to science,” said ecologist Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. “We don’t know the composition of the ecosystems.”