Restoring areas affected by gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon

Madre de Dios-Peru
Madre de Dios, Peru
Restoring areas affected by gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon

Help us restore areas affected by gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon

We're helping restore degraded areas in an area heavily affected by illegal gold mining.
Through use of drones to characterize degraded areas, using biocarbon to improve soil quality, and establishing plant nurseries we're showing that heavily degraded land can be recovered


Mining is an ever-increasing threat to Amazonian habitats and species, as well as to human health due to mercury. 

Small scale, artisanal and illegal gold mining causes deforestation and disruption to freshwater systems, such as siltation and toxic mercury pollution. The Madre de Dios region in Peru has been particularly badly affected. Once the mines stop their operations, barren and contaminated areas are left. This initiative was started to generate knowledge about how to restore lands degraded by mining. It has taken an experimental approach using Biochar as a soil improver, which was historically used by indigenous groups in the Amazon.

Peru tree planting Madre de Dios
Peru restoration WWF


The restoration initiative is bringing life back to this vital area for biodiversity. 

To help restore these lands, our Peru-based science partner CINCIA (Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation), developed a specialist methodology with four parts: 1) Using drones to map out areas degraded by mining; 2) Producing and using biocarbon to improve soil quality in degraded areas; 3) Setting up technical nurseries and plant production; and 4) Installing, managing and maintaining plantations in native communities, specific mining concessions and agricultural properties.

The initiative does not pretend to be another pilot, but seeks to position the methodology used to continue reforesting degraded areas in an effective, innovative and efficient way. 

This initiative has shown surprising results to restore life to soils that had been completely damaged, as a result of mining activity. It is time to focus not only on the results of the project and on the learning that it has left, but on its continuous monitoring and its potential escalation.

Kurt Holle,
Country Representative of WWF Peru

Photo credits: © WWF Peru