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Mining in New Caledonia: environmental stakes and restoration opportunities

Abstract : New Caledonia is a widely recognised marine and terrestrial biodiversity hot spot. However, this unique environment is under increasing anthropogenic pressure. Major threats are related to land cover change and include fire, urban sprawling and mining. Resulting habitat loss and fragmentation end up in serious erosion of the local biodiversity. Mining is of particular concern due to its economic significance for the island. Open cast mines were exploited there since 1873, and scraping out soil to access ores wipes out flora. Resulting perturbations on water flows and dramatic soil erosion lead to metal-rich sediment transport downstream into rivers and the lagoon. Conflicting environmental and economic aspects of mining are discussed in this paper. However, mining practices are also improving, and where impacts are inescapable ecological restoration is now considered. Past and ongoing experiences in the restoration of New Caledonian terrestrial ecosystems are presented and discussed here. Economic use of the local floristic diversity could also promote conservation and restoration, while providing alternative incomes. In this regard, Ecocatalysis, an innovative approach to make use of metal hyperaccumulating plants, is of particular interest.
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Soumis le : mercredi 24 février 2021 - 10:01:52
Dernière modification le : lundi 16 mai 2022 - 17:50:02
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Guillaume Losfeld, Laurent L’huillier, Bruno Fogliani, Tanguy Jaffré, Claude Grison. Mining in New Caledonia: environmental stakes and restoration opportunities. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2015, Combining Phytoextraction and Ecological Catalysis: an Environmental, Ecological, Ethic and Economic Opportunity, 22 (8), pp.5592 - 5607. ⟨10.1007/s11356-014-3358-x⟩. ⟨hal-01898232⟩

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