New satellite images have been released showing the impacts of illegal gold mining in parts of the Peruvian Amazon, affecting an area the size of two and a half football fields.
The effects of deforestation in the region of La Pamapa, in the state of Madre de Dios (Mother of God) are the result of the illegal exploitation of minerals, according to analysts at the non-profit Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP).
The environmental group examined aerial photographs that were taken in July of 2015 and compared them to photographs from Aug. of 2014, which showed that 750 hectares of forest have disappeared in only a year.
Illegal mining in the Amazon rainforest is a lucrative industry and growing problem for the whole region. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people are believed to be linked to the exploitation of resources in the state of Madre de Dios alone, according to the state's Ministry of Environment.
Another hot spot for illegal mining is near the Tambopata National Reserve, which is recognized worldwide as one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Mining activity has been reported less than 6 kilometers from the reserve, putting the area under threat of deforestation.
Peruvian officials are concerned that the illegal exploitation of resources will eventually reach the Tambopata National Reserve itself, according to Pedro Gamboa, head of the National Service of Protected Areas of Peru (Sernanp).