When we think of deforestation, the catastrophic destruction occurring across the Amazon may be the first thing that comes to mind, but as new research highlights, only the Amazon is worried about deforestation. not.
It is the first study to comprehensively examine the amount of forest lost to intensive industrial mining activities in the tropics, and it is not appreciable. 1,260 square miles) of tropical forests have been lost, researchers found. This is larger than the area of Yosemite National Park.
According to satellite data, four-fifths of this deforestation occurs in just four countries: Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana and Suriname. Indonesia tops the table, alone causing 58.2% of recorded tropical deforestation caused directly by industrial mining expansion.
“There is a wide range of environmental damage caused by mining operations in addition to deforestation, including ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss, water source destruction, hazardous waste generation and pollution.” says Stephan GiljumAssociate Professor at the Institute for Ecological Economics at the Vienna University of Economics, Austria.
“Government permits must take all of this into account. Industrial mining can easily disrupt both landscapes and ecosystems. remains a hidden weakness in the strategy of
Survey data covers a total of 26 countries, accounting for 76.7% of mining-related tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2019. These mining activities targeted the extraction of coal, gold, iron ore, and bauxite.
The impact of mining went far beyond resource extraction. In two-thirds of tropical countries, deforestation within 50 km (about 30 miles) of mines is due to factors such as transport infrastructure, storage facilities and town growth.
If there is any good news, it is that the level of deforestation from mining is declining. Indonesia, Brazil and Ghana lost their forests as industrial mining peaked between 2010 and 2014, but coal mining continues to grow, especially in Indonesia.
“Although total deforestation in Indonesia has declined every year since 2015, these findings support strong land-use planning to ensure that mining does not destroy forests or violate community rights. We emphasize the continued need.” Haliadi Cartodiharjo saysProfessor of Forest Policy at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.
The researchers note that the current political situation in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia means that mining and deforestation are unlikely to decline significantly in the near future. damage.
They also point out that other land-intensive activities, such as ranching and palm oil and soybean production, cause more deforestation than mining in some tropical countries.
As Research so far It has been shown that one of the best ways to prevent deforestation is to recognize and enforce the ownership of the communities and indigenous peoples who lived in the forests long before mining companies arrived.
In future studies, researchers hope to look at small-scale, artisanal mining operations that sometimes fly under the radar when it comes to environmental analysis like this. It is about better understanding what is happening and taking action.
“The rapidly growing demand for minerals, especially metals for renewable energy and e-mobility technologies, requires government and industry policies to take into account the direct and indirect impacts of mining. ” Geographer Anthony Bevington says Clark University in Massachusetts.
“Addressing these impacts is an important tool for conserving tropical forests and safeguarding the livelihoods of communities living in these forests.”
This research PNAS.
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