MAAP #71: Gold Mining Threatens Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Again

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In an earlier series of articles (MAAP #6, MAAP #44, MAAP #64), we showed the illegal gold mining invasion of a section of Amarakaeri Communal Reserve (see yellow box in Base Map), as well as the rapid response by authorities to remove the miners. It was an important case given that Amarakaeri is an important Peruvian protected area, co-managed byPeru’s protected areas agency (SERNANP) and indigenous communities (represented by the ECA Amarakaeri).

However, here we highlight the rapid advance of gold mining deforestation towards another section of Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, in the region of Cusco to the south (see purple box in Base Map).

*According to a statement from SERNANP, they are jointly coordinating with the ECA Amarakaeri and competent authorities such as the National Police, Prosecutor’s Office, and National Forest Service (SERFOR), regarding actions to stop the advance of illegal gold mining, and generating and comprehensive solutions to the problem.

Image 71. Base Map

Advance of New Gold Mining Invasion

Over the past year, gold mining has rapidly advanced in the buffer zone of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, along a tributary of the Nuciniscato River in the Cusco region. This mining activity has caused the deforestation of 158 acres (64 hectares) of primary Amazon rainforest between September 2016 and September 2017 (Image 71a). The most recent deforestation, during September 2017, is only 1 km from the border of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

Image 71a. Data: Planet, SERNANP

Below, we show a series of satellite images (obtained from the company Planet) showing the rapid advance of gold mining deforestation towards the Communal Reserve during 2017 (May, July, August, and September). To enlarge, click the bottom right of the images.

GIF 71. GIF of a series of images. Planet

Very High Resolution Zoom 

Finally, we show two extraordinary high resolution images (0.38 meters) of the latest gold mining activity closest to the Communal Reserve. In the images, gold mining ponds, heavy machinery, and mining camps are clearly seen.

Source: DigitalGlobe 2017 (Nextview)

Source: DigitalGlobe 2017 (Nextview)


Planet Team (2017). Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA.


Finer M, Novoa S (2017) Gold Mining Threatens the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Again. MAAP: 71.

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