Amazon gold mining has hit and re-hit the headlines over the past 24 months, with reports of increasing deforestation and mercury pollution in places like the Peruvian Amazon. Today, CAO was featured in continuing coverage of this important story on National Public Radio (NPR) news across the United States.
Much of the original news reached the headlines following a CAO-2 mapping flight that revealed enormous devastation to forests in the high biodiversity Amazon region known as the Madre de Dios, or Mother of God. In partnership with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM), CAO and MINAM scientists flew over many of the gold mining areas recording the flight path on the aircraft WingCams. This simple video footage went viral, and was promoted by MINAM and featured on mainstream television in Lima.
The devastation was subsequently reported with scientific detail in the top journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper was led by CAO’s Principal Investigator Greg Asner, and co-authored by MINAM’s top geospatial scientists and CAO’s Peruvian coordinator Raul Tupayachi:
The story only expanded in breadth from that point, with widespread coverage in hundreds of news and online media outlets worldwide. The story was also captured on the ground in the heart-stopping and award winning documentary Amazon Gold:
Other reports include Al Jazeera America’s unique coverage of the gold mining problem, which featured Asner and the CAO.
And today, U.S. National Public Radio continued the media blitz on Amazon gold mining with a new story bringing listeners up to date on this enormous problem affecting the Amazon forest and people living there:
What’s next? While Peru and the international community struggle to get the gold mining under control, CAO is continuing to apply its data analytics to better understand the extent and ecological impacts of the gold rush. Early results were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Asner and his colleagues at CAO and MINAM.