Population growth, infrastructure expansion, and mining are responsible for more than 25 percent of the world’s deforestation | WWF

Population growth, infrastructure expansion, and mining are responsible for more than 25 percent of the world’s deforestation

Posted on 30 October 2018
Burning forest, Peru
© WWF/ Oliver Phillips
  • Illegal mining is one of the main causes of forest loss in the Amazon
  • An innovative initiative now makes it possible to recover degraded lands in Madre de Dios, Peru
Lima, October 30th.According to the Living Planet Report, recently released by WWF, studies conducted in almost 50 countries show that over 25 percent of deforestation is caused by population growth, infrastructure expansion and mining. Since 1998 WWF has been releasing the LPR every two years to provide a general vision on the state of nature, human impact and viable solutions. At the same time, it aims to share keystone information for governments, communities, companies and organizations to facilitate better decision-making processes related to the promotion, use and protection of the planet’s resources.

20% of the Amazon rainforests have already disappeared, and illegal mining is now one of the main threats for the Peruvian Amazon. It causes deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, rivers’ destruction and promotes illegal economy. In the last 15 years illegal mining and migratory agriculture have caused the deforestation of an area equivalent to more than 160,000 football fields, just in the region of Madre de Dios.


Thanks to science, technology and renewed social and political commitments, it is now possible to address some of the main threats to rainforests. Wake Forest University (WFU), the Center for Amazonian Science and Innovation (CINCIA), USAID and WWF have come together to recover lands degraded by illegal and informal mining in Madre de Dios, the region most affected by this activity in the country.

This work, began in 2015 with the initial goal to recover 40 hectares, but now has reached 140 hectares reforested with over 155,000 trees in the region of Inambari and the Manu province, which are the most affected areas by illegal mining in Peru. According to specialists, the impact of recovering these specific areas magnifies exponentially under the approach of landscape connectivity, since they can now potentially connect hundreds of thousands of hectares of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world.

“Thanks to this pilot experience it has been possible to determine the most effective combination of species, technical processes and methodologies. Manu and Inambari municipalities are now pioneers in forest recovery and access public funds. The next step is to scale up this strategy across other areas in the Amazon, with the engagemet of local and regional governments”, said Edith Condori, WWF´s coordinator.
Burning forest, Peru
© WWF/ Oliver Phillips Enlarge