Sharing Lessons Learned in the Peruvian Amazon with Brazil

July 20, 2023

In the last two years, radar monitoring has proven to be an especially effective tool in the fight against illegal gold mining in the Amazon. While imaging satellites can be blocked by clouds or smoke, radar technology allows satellites to measure changes on the earth’s surface regardless of cloud cover. In 2021, our Peruvian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACCA, worked closely with SERVIR-Amazonia to develop and launch a specialized tool called RAMI (Radar Mining Monitoring Tool), which utilizes radar technology to discover illegal mining deforestation as soon as it happens. Since its launch, ACCA has successfully trained government officials, indigenous peoples, and other land defenders in the use of this technology, saving countless acres of forest by enhancing access to actionable information in an unprecedented way.

Now, ACCA is helping to expand the use of this crucial technology to the rest of the Amazon. Peruvian experts recently traveled to the Brazilian state of Pará to work with government employees of SEMAS (Brazil’s Secretary of the Environment and Sustainability) to implement a system for the application of RAMI in the Tapajós region. Sidney Novoa, the Director of GIS at Conservación Amazónica – ACCA (pictured below left), emphasized the similarities between Tapajós in Pará and Madre de Dios in Peru, an area where monitoring technology has been especially effective at mitigating deforestation. The intersection of national parks, indigenous lands, and conservation areas with land designated for mining yields a similar pattern of conflict and confusion regarding land use disputes. However, the similarity also indicates that our knowledge of the tools utility in Madre de Dios should transfer well to Tapajós.

Mauro O’ de Almeida, Secretary of SEMAS, highlighted that the Tapajós region was chosen for the operation of RAMI due to its high illegal gold mining activity. The Secretary hopes that this tool will address the problem of illegal mining in general, a major obstacle to environmental management in Pará, which harms the economy and natural resources.

In this way, the tool will reinforce SEMAS’ strategy for environmental oversight and monitoring, not only to combat illegal mining but also to supervise licensed companies and protect the environment and communities that depend on these natural resources. Additionally, this technology will be shared with other federal agencies in the state of Pará, such as the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation and IBAMA (the Brazillian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources), to strengthen the fight against illegal mining and ensure the sustainability of the Amazon.