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SOIL DEGRADED BY ALLUVIAL GOLD MINING IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZON: CLASSIFICATION APPLYING SOIL TAXONOMY (2014) AND WRB (2015)
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  • Manuel Velasquez Ramirez,
  • Julio Nazario Rios, ,
  • Juan Guerrero Barrantes,
  • Roger Escobedo Torres,
  • Evert Thomas,
  • Ronald Corvera Gomringer,
  • Luis Bazán Tapia,
  • Dennis del Castillo Torres
Manuel Velasquez Ramirez
Instituto de investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP)
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Julio Nazario Rios,
Universidad Nacional Agraria, La Molina (UNALM)
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Juan Guerrero Barrantes
Universidad Nacional Agraria, La Molina (UNALM)
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Roger Escobedo Torres
Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP)
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Evert Thomas
Bioversity International
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Ronald Corvera Gomringer
Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP)
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Luis Bazán Tapia
Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM)
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Dennis del Castillo Torres
Institución de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP)
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Abstract

Alluvial gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon has become a key driver of land degradation and deforestation. In the Madre de Dios region, known as “the capital of the Peruvian biodiversity”, more than 95,750 ha of old growth forest were degraded in the las twenty years, at the rate of 6000 ha every year. In Fortuna Community, located in this region of the Peruvian Amazon, we classified soils of mine spoils and compared them with nearby soil profiles of undisturbed old growth forest, founding that both impacted and non-impacted soils are young soils classified as Fluvisols and Regosols according to the WRB system (2005) and Entisols according to Soil Taxonomy (2014). Soils of mine spoils have low plant cover, low fertility, strong acidity, low cation exchange capacity, and high content of rock fragments in impacted soils; so the impacts on soils are remarkable decreasing the fertility and soil productivity compared to non-impacted soils. However, impacted soils are being improved as time passes by natural regeneration, interaction between plants and animals, pluvial precipitation and flooding that improve soil characteristic like organic soil matter and cation exchange capacity, developing a new soil. In spite there is limited information about these soils in the Amazon, this research contributes to characterized certain impacted sites in order to support making decision on how to best reclaim, rehabilitate or restore these Amazon ecosystems.