Blog home/People/PARTNER POST: MAAP #21: Illegal Gold Mining Deforestation Enters Tambopata National Reserve (Madre de Dios, Peru) [High-Resolution View]
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Posted on December 21, 2015
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PARTNER POST: MAAP #21: Illegal Gold Mining Deforestation Enters Tambopata National Reserve (Madre de Dios, Peru) [High-Resolution View]

Posted on December 21, 2015
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*Note: During the review process for this article, a major operation against illegal mining activities was carried out by the Peruvian government in the area described below. Image 21a illustrates a recent illegal gold mining invasion of the Tambopata National Reserve. Tambopata is an important protected area in the southern Peruvian Amazon (department of Madre de Dios). Image 21a compares two high-resolution (0.5 m) images taken two months apart over the same area along the northern border of the reserve. One can clearly see the beginning of the illegal gold mining activity and deforestation within the reserve between September (left panel) and November (right panel) 2015. For more context regarding the area in question, see the yellow box in Image 21b.

MAAP_Tambopata_1m_v1_en Image 21a. Recent invasion of Tambopata National Reserve. Data: SERNANP, WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 of Digital Globe (NextView).

Reference Map

Image 21b is a reference map showing the above detailed area in the larger context between the northern border of the Tambopata National Reserve and the illegal gold mining zone known as La Pampa. The yellow box corresponds to the area detailed in Image 21a. Note that the original boundary of the reserve created in 2000 no longer coincides with the route of the Malinowski River due to its natural movement over time.

MAAP_Tambopata_2_v1_en-e1448905396460-1500x953 Image 21b. Reference Map. Data: SERNANP, WorldView-2 of Digital Globe (NextView).

Deforestation Data

Image 21c presents an updated analysis of the deforestation in the area between La Pampa and the Tambopata National Reserve. In this specific area, we documented the deforestation of 2,518 hectares (6,222 acres) between 2013 and 2015, the vast majority of which is clearly linked to illegal gold mining activities. The majority of this recent deforestation has occurred in La Pampa, a bit north of the reserve (but within its buffer zone). However, recent deforestation has also occurred along the Malinowski river, which forms the northern boundary of the reserve in this area.

RNT-Malinowsky_V3-1500x1061 Image 21c. Analysis of deforestation. Data: CLASlite, Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA, SERNANP, USGS, WorldView-2 of Digital Globe (NextView). In Image 21c, the data from 2000-2014 came from Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA, while the data from 2015 came from our own analysis using CLASlite.


Finer M, Novoa S, Snelgrove C, Peña N (2015) Confirming an Illegal Gold Mining Invasion of the Tambopata National Reserve (Madre de Dios, Peru) [High-Resolution View]. MAAP #21.

This post originally appeared on MAAP, a project of the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA).ACA is a Global Forest Watch Small Grants Fund recipient. BANNER PHOTO: Destruction of illegal mining camps in Madre de Dios. Photo from a report by Adina.

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