Item Link: Access the Resource
Media Type: Article - Foundational
Date of Publication: September 1
Year of Publication: 2020
Publication City: London, UK; Berlin, Germany
Publisher: Springer Nature
Author(s): Laura J. Sonter, Marie C. Dade, James E. M. Watson, Rick K. Valenta
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 11, 4174
Renewable energy production is necessary to halt climate change and reverse associated biodiversity losses. However, generating the required technologies and infrastructure will drive an increase in the production of many metals, creating new mining threats for biodiversity. Here, we map mining areas and assess their spatial coincidence with biodiversity conservation sites and priorities. Mining potentially influences 50 million km2 of Earth’s land surface, with 8% coinciding with Protected Areas, 7% with Key Biodiversity Areas, and 16% with Remaining Wilderness. Most mining areas (82%) target materials needed for renewable energy production, and areas that overlap with Protected Areas and Remaining Wilderness contain a greater density of mines (our indicator of threat severity) compared to the overlapping mining areas that target other materials. Mining threats to biodiversity will increase as more mines target materials for renewable energy production and, without strategic planning, these new threats to biodiversity may surpass those averted by climate change mitigation.
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