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Wassenaar, T.D., Henschel, J.R., Pfaffenthaler, M.M., Mutotaa, E.N., Seely, M.K. and Pallett, J. 2013. Ensuring the future of the Namib's biodiversity: Ecological restoration as a key management response to a mining boom. Journal of Arid Environments, 93: 126–135


Description:

Ensuring the future of the Namib's biodiversity: Ecological restoration as a key management response to a mining boom.

Summary / Notes:

The Namib Desert is an ancient desert on the west coast of southern Africa. The Namib has unique endemic biodiversity and scenic landscapes, with a major part contained in the Namib Naukluft Park and the adjacent Dorob National Park, together forming a major tourism attraction in Namibia. There are currently large exploration and mining developments in the central Namib, fuelled by rising global demand for uranium. Mining contributes significantly to the Namibian GDP, but through destruction of habitats and ecological processes, may cause environmental degradation and loss of ecosystem services. Additionally, Namibia stands to lose a significant part of the biological diversity that makes it unique. These direct impacts are occurring in the context of regional climatic changes that are predicted to have their own severe impacts on biodiversity. A number of tools exist to counter these impacts, among which ecological restoration is an important one. Yet the extent of the damage to ecological processes and functions of the Namib, the interactions with climate change and the mechanisms through which the impacts will occur are still not well known. There is thus a crucial need for a better understanding of these arid ecosystems and their response to disturbance, to devise better restoration techniques, and to inform decision makers about management options. This paper analyses the extent of the threats to the central Namib's ecosystems and biodiversity due to mining, identifies critical knowledge gaps for restoration, defines policy needs, and proposes a broad strategy which is intended to be a framework for research, planning and management for sustainable use of this unique desert. Keywords: Biodiversity, Environmental policy, Mitigation, Rehabilitation, Uranium mining.

Year: 2013

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140196312001681


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