Mapping to explore the challenges and opportunities for reconciling artisanal gem mining and biodiversity conservation

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Devenish, K., Goodenough, K., Jones, J. P. G., Ratsimba, H. R. and Willcock, S. 2023. Mapping to explore the challenges and opportunities for reconciling artisanal gem mining and biodiversity conservation. The Extractive Industries and Society. 15, p. 101311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2023.101311

AuthorsDevenish, K., Goodenough, K., Jones, J. P. G., Ratsimba, H. R. and Willcock, S.
Abstract

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) provides a vitally important livelihood for millions of people in many low- and middle-income countries. ASM can result in habitat clearance, increased hunting pressure, pollution, and sedimentation of waterways. Consequently, where mineral and biological wealth coincide, there are trade-offs. Here, we combine geological data with four datasets capturing conservation priorities, to evaluate where, and to what extent, mining may impact biodiversity, and to explore opportunities for both to co-exist. We use Madagascar as a case study: a biodiversity hotspot rich in economically important minerals where artisanal gem mining has conflicted with biodiversity conservation. We identify areas of Madagascar most likely to host primary deposits of gems and find that 11%–14% of the most important area for biodiversity on the island could host primary gem deposits. However, we also identify 7 million hectares (80%) of potentially prospective land which is outside of these areas. Establishing decentralised, community-managed zones for licensed ASM in such areas could help to incentivise formalisation and minimise social and environmental trade-offs. Our mapping approach could be applied in other countries to encourage the establishment of designated zones for ASM in places where mining does not conflict with conservation.

KeywordsArtisanal and small-scale mining; Biodiversity conservation; Madagascar; Formalisation; Protected areas
Year of Publication2023
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Journal citation15, p. 101311
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2023.101311
Web address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214790X23001016
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderNatural Environment Research Council
Funder project or codeEnvision DTP
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Jul 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Jul 2023
ISSN2214-7918
PublisherElsevier

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