Lust for Gold Is Consuming Precious South American Forests

Posted by Mike Confino, January 15, 2015

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Deforestation in South America usually brings to mind images of Amazonian forests logged for timber or cut down to make way for agriculture. Gold mines, though, are an overlooked cause of deforestation, and now satellite data are revealing the extent of forest lost due to the world’s obsession with the shiny metal.
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Between 2000 and 2013, the price of gold skyrocketed from around $250 per ounce to almost $1,300 per ounce. Rising demand for jewelry and other gold items—especially in China and India—combined with international financial uncertainty drove people and corporations to mine new areas, sometimes illegally.

via Lust for Gold Is Consuming Precious South American Forests | Science | Smithsonian.

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