Mining drives extensive deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Sonter, L. J., Herrera, D., Barrett, D. J., Galford, G. L., Moran, C. J. & Soares-Filho, B. S. (2017) Mining drives extensive deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Nature Communications. 8, 1013

Mining poses significant and potentially underestimated risks to tropical forests worldwide. In Brazil’s Amazon, mining drives deforestation far beyond operational lease boundaries, yet the full extent of these impacts is largely unknown.

This paper quantifies mining-induced deforestation and investigates the aspects of mining operations which most likely contribute. The authors find mining significantly increased Amazon forest loss up to 70 km beyond mining lease boundaries, causing 11,670 km2 of deforestation between 2005 and 2015. This represents 9% of all Amazon forest loss during this period and 12 times more deforestation than occurred within mining leases alone.

Pathways leading to such impacts include mining infrastructure establishment, urban expansion to support a growing workforce, and development of mineral commodity supply chains.

The full paper can be found here.