Almost 10 per cent of clearing in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest is being driven by unregulated development around mine sites, a new study has found. Researchers analysed satellite data from 2005 to 2015, contrasting areas within a 70-kilometre radius of mine sites, with areas not proximal to mines.
In the study published today in Nature Communications, they found that an extra 11,670 square-kilometres of Amazon rainforest had been cleared where mines were within that radius.
“This is an unregulated source of deforestation, we didn’t know it existed and we assumed it was much smaller than what our results have shown,” said lead author Dr Laura Sonter of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute.
According to the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE), more than 190,000 square-kilometres of rainforest have been cleared in the Brazilian Amazon since 2000.
Environmental regulations in Brazil require mining operations to take into account the mine footprint and some direct infrastructure.
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