An expansive clearing of primary forest has been detected in a protected area in the Brazilian Amazon, possibly driven by illegal mining activities. In March, the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab at the University of Maryland detected an area of newly cleared forest in the Tapajós Environmental Protection Area, west of the town of Novo Progresso in the state of Pará. Satellite imagery from Planet Labs confirms that the deforestation, which covers around 1,250 hectares (3,090 acres), or an area the size of a large international airport, occurred between January and February of this year. Satellite data from the University of Maryland shows cleared area within Tapajos PA in 2021. Background image from Planet. Mining activity is the suspected driver of this forest loss, as the cleared area surrounds a long-standing feature resembling an airstrip, and many instances of airstrips alongside mining areas can be found throughout the surrounding landscape. The area also partially overlaps gold mining concessions “in application” according to data from Brazil’s National Department of Mineral Production vizualized on Global Forest Watch. The recently cleared area of forest partially overlaps with gold mining concessions. Image from Global Forest Watch. Monthly satellite image from Planet shows that deforestation occurred between January and February of 2021.  The recently cleared region is within an area of the Tapajós-Xingu moist forest that has overall high biodiversity intactness, according to the U.N. Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre. It is also classified as a key biodiversity area by BirdLife International.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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