Duke Finds Gold Rush Deforestation in Amazon

Apr 25, 2011

The Amazon Rain Forest is being threatened by a gold rush. A new study from Duke University shows that surface mining is eating up large chunks of the forest in Peru. Jennifer Swenson is an assistant professor who worked on the project. She says satellite photos help assess how much land is being affected.

Jennifer Swenson: "I looked at two main mining sites that are new and over two years 1800 hectares of primary forest was removed. Think of that in terms of football fields, its actually 4 and a half football fields a day."

Swenson says most of the miners are poor. She says they face many dangers including exposure to mercury used to help sort the gold from silt.