Gold mining has rapidly increased in western Amazonia, but the rates and ecological impacts of mining remain poorly known and potentially underestimated. We combined field surveys, airborne mapping, and high-resolution satellite imaging to assess road- and river-based gold mining in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon from 1999 to 2012. In this period, the geographic extent of gold mining increased 400%. The average annual rate of forest loss as a result of gold mining tripled in 2008 following the global economic recession, closely associated with increased gold prices. Small clandestine operations now comprise more than half of all gold mining activities throughout the region. These rates of gold mining are far higher than previous estimates that were based on traditional satellite mapping techniques. Our results prove that gold mining is growing more rapidly than previously thought, and that high-resolution monitoring approaches are required to accurately quantify human impacts on tropical forests.
金矿开采活动在亚马逊西部地区正越来越活跃，但是其发展速度和对生态的影响并未被人很好所知，而且可以说很大程度上是被低估了。 从1992到2012年， 我们利用实地勘察，航空测量，高清卫星拍摄等方式来估计位于祕鲁的Madre de Dios 地区陆地和水域的采金点数量。 我们发现，这段时期，金矿开采的地域扩展了400%。 2008年世界经济危机引起了金价的上涨， 进而导致金矿开采活动上升，这导致亚马逊森林面积减少速度增长到了原来的三倍。 现在此地区小型的秘密金矿开采活动几乎占所有金矿开采活动的一半。 这个金矿开采速度比原来通过传统卫星测量技术估计的数字要高出很多。 我们的结论证明金矿的开采活动的增长比我们原来预计的要快得多，另外，利用高清卫星监测的方式是准确确定热带雨林的人类活动数量所必需的。