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A pantropical assessment of deforestation caused by industrial mining

Authors
  • Giljum, Stefan
  • Maus, Victor
  • Kuschnig, Nikolas
  • Luckeneder, Sebastian
  • Tost, Michael
  • Sonter, Laura J.
  • Bebbington, Anthony J.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Sep 12, 2022
Volume
119
Issue
38
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2118273119
PMID: 36095187
PMCID: PMC9499560
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Social Sciences
  • Sustainability Science
License
Unknown

Abstract

Growing demand for minerals continues to drive deforestation worldwide. Tropical forests are particularly vulnerable to the environmental impacts of mining and mineral processing. Many local- to regional-scale studies document extensive, long-lasting impacts of mining on biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, the full scope of deforestation induced by industrial mining across the tropics is yet unknown. Here, we present a biome-wide assessment to show where industrial mine expansion has caused the most deforestation from 2000 to 2019. We find that 3,264 km2 of forest was directly lost due to industrial mining, with 80% occurring in only four countries: Indonesia, Brazil, Ghana, and Suriname. Additionally, controlling for other nonmining determinants of deforestation, we find that mining caused indirect forest loss in two-thirds of the investigated countries. Our results illustrate significant yet unevenly distributed and often unmanaged impacts on these biodiverse ecosystems. Impact assessments and mitigation plans of industrial mining activities must address direct and indirect impacts to support conservation of the world’s tropical forests.

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