Congo Basin Case Study

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The Congo basin supports a large rainforest ecosystem, which contributes on a large scale to stable the world climate. But this ecosystem is endangered due to the vast wealth of resources and accompanied illegal mining activities, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diverse case studies about Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega Park, Okapi Reserve and Virunga Park ascertain that deforestation, water pollution as well as hunting and poaching are the most common environmental impacts. Observations show that only approximately 20 % of mammals are still alive in some heritage areas. These impacts lead to a high loss of biodiversity and results in a dramatically change in rainforest ecosystem services. Therefore, this paper provides a survey of the current literature about the relationship of environmental degradation and artisanal and small-scale mining in the Congo Basin.

Keywords: Deforestation, Environmental Degradation, Poaching, Democratic Republic of Congo

Introduction

The Congo Basin is the second largest
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If mining projects take place in a wooded terrain, trees and plants have to be cleared. The logging process is essential for miners to reach the minerals beneath the dense vegetation. Moreover, wood is an important resource to construct houses, mineshafts, to generate heat and for cooking fires. Deforestation processes accompanied with building of camps and extensive use of tracks by foot or by cars cause a number of environmental impacts. These impacts involve the blocking of animal habitat by mine camps or tracks or even total habitat loss due to removal of vegetation. Deforestation is the most obvious impact of mining and has also an impact on depending species, supports erosion as well as landslides because of unprotected soil. Aside from that soil degradation is another problem, which influences domestic vegetation and might changes the whole vegetation

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