Causes and consequences of a Tropical Gold Rush in the Guiana Shield, South America

Hammond David S., Gond Valéry, De Thoisy Benoit, Forget Pierre-Michel, DeDijn Bart P.E.. 2007. Causes and consequences of a Tropical Gold Rush in the Guiana Shield, South America. Ambio, 36 (8) : pp. 661-670.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Economie-gestion; Géographie-Aménagement-Urbanisme-Architecture

Abstract : Statistical and spatial analyses of both historical time series and remotely sensed data show a link between the spatial distribution and growth of gold production across the Guiana Shield in northeast Amazonia. Results indicate that an exponential rise in production across an expanding area is primarily a delayed response to the 1971-1978 market flotation of international gold prices. The subsequent 10-fold (2-fold) average nominal (real) price increase has provided a compelling economic incentive to mass exploitation of lower-grade gold de-posits. The ground-based and remotely sensed distributions of mining activity are strongly attached to these deposits that dominate the region's gold geology. The presence of these gold-bearing formations in conservation and sustainable timber zones has sparked social conflict and environmental degradation across the region. Left unmanaged, more than a quarter-million square-kilometer area of tropical forest zoned for protection and sustainable management could ultimately be compromised by the price-driven boom in gold mining through poorly integrated resource use planning, lack of reclamation effort, and control of illegal operations. Serious public health issues propagated through the unregulated mining environment further erode the financial benefits achieved through gold extraction. This study demon-strates in part how international economic policies successfully stabilizing more conspicuous centers of the global economy can have unintended but profound environmental and social impacts on remote commodity frontiers. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : forêt tropicale, Or, Politique économique, Utilisation des terres, Impact sur l'environnement, Télédétection, Gestion de l'environnement, Dégradation de l'environnement, Trouble social, Santé publique

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Guyane française

Classification Agris : P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
E10 - Agricultural economics and policies
U30 - Research methods

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Hammond David S., NWFS (USA)
  • Gond Valéry, CIRAD-ES-UPR Ressources forestières (CAN) ORCID: 0000-0002-0080-3140
  • De Thoisy Benoit, Association Kwata (GUF)
  • Forget Pierre-Michel, MNHN (FRA)
  • DeDijn Bart P.E.

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