Terrestrial ecosystem impacts of sulfide mining: Scope of issues for the boundary waters canoe area wilderness, Minnesota, USA

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Large-scale metal mining operations are planned or underway in many locations across the boreal forest biome in North America, Europe, and Asia. Although many published analyses of mining impacts on water quality in boreal landscapes are available, there is little guidance regarding terrestrial impacts. Scoping of potential impacts of Cu-Ni exploration and mining in sulfide ores are presented for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), Minnesota USA, an area of mostly boreal forest on thin soils and granitic bedrock. Although the primary footprint of the proposed mines would be outside the BWCAW, displacement and fragmentation of forest ecosystems would cause spatial propagation of effects into a secondary footprint within the wilderness. Potential negative impacts include disruption of population dynamics for wildlife species with migration routes, or metapopulations of plant species that span the wilderness boundary, and establishment of invasive species outside the wilderness that could invade the wilderness. Due to linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, acid mine drainage can impact lowland forests, which are highly dependent on chemistry of water flowing through them. The expected extremes in precipitation and temperature due to warming climate can also interact with mining impacts to reduce the resilience of forests to disturbance caused by mining.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number747
JournalForests
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Fingerprint

wilderness area
wilderness
sulfides
terrestrial ecosystem
sulfide
footprint
boreal forest
boreal forests
water
migration route
acid mine drainage
metapopulation
biome
invasive species
aquatic ecosystem
forest ecosystem
lowland forests
bedrock
hydrochemistry
population dynamics

Keywords

  • Boreal forest
  • Copper-nickel mining
  • Environmental impact of mining
  • Sulfide mining
  • Wilderness ecology

Cite this

Terrestrial ecosystem impacts of sulfide mining : Scope of issues for the boundary waters canoe area wilderness, Minnesota, USA. / Frelich, Lee E.

In: Forests, Vol. 10, No. 9, 747, 01.09.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

@article{f21c04633c5445f8ba0b593194d677cb,
title = "Terrestrial ecosystem impacts of sulfide mining: Scope of issues for the boundary waters canoe area wilderness, Minnesota, USA",
abstract = "Large-scale metal mining operations are planned or underway in many locations across the boreal forest biome in North America, Europe, and Asia. Although many published analyses of mining impacts on water quality in boreal landscapes are available, there is little guidance regarding terrestrial impacts. Scoping of potential impacts of Cu-Ni exploration and mining in sulfide ores are presented for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), Minnesota USA, an area of mostly boreal forest on thin soils and granitic bedrock. Although the primary footprint of the proposed mines would be outside the BWCAW, displacement and fragmentation of forest ecosystems would cause spatial propagation of effects into a secondary footprint within the wilderness. Potential negative impacts include disruption of population dynamics for wildlife species with migration routes, or metapopulations of plant species that span the wilderness boundary, and establishment of invasive species outside the wilderness that could invade the wilderness. Due to linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, acid mine drainage can impact lowland forests, which are highly dependent on chemistry of water flowing through them. The expected extremes in precipitation and temperature due to warming climate can also interact with mining impacts to reduce the resilience of forests to disturbance caused by mining.",
keywords = "Boreal forest, Copper-nickel mining, Environmental impact of mining, Sulfide mining, Wilderness ecology",
author = "Frelich, {Lee E.}",
year = "2019",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.3390/f10090747",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
journal = "Forests",
issn = "1999-4907",
publisher = "MDPI AG",
number = "9",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Terrestrial ecosystem impacts of sulfide mining

T2 - Scope of issues for the boundary waters canoe area wilderness, Minnesota, USA

AU - Frelich, Lee E.

PY - 2019/9/1

Y1 - 2019/9/1

N2 - Large-scale metal mining operations are planned or underway in many locations across the boreal forest biome in North America, Europe, and Asia. Although many published analyses of mining impacts on water quality in boreal landscapes are available, there is little guidance regarding terrestrial impacts. Scoping of potential impacts of Cu-Ni exploration and mining in sulfide ores are presented for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), Minnesota USA, an area of mostly boreal forest on thin soils and granitic bedrock. Although the primary footprint of the proposed mines would be outside the BWCAW, displacement and fragmentation of forest ecosystems would cause spatial propagation of effects into a secondary footprint within the wilderness. Potential negative impacts include disruption of population dynamics for wildlife species with migration routes, or metapopulations of plant species that span the wilderness boundary, and establishment of invasive species outside the wilderness that could invade the wilderness. Due to linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, acid mine drainage can impact lowland forests, which are highly dependent on chemistry of water flowing through them. The expected extremes in precipitation and temperature due to warming climate can also interact with mining impacts to reduce the resilience of forests to disturbance caused by mining.

AB - Large-scale metal mining operations are planned or underway in many locations across the boreal forest biome in North America, Europe, and Asia. Although many published analyses of mining impacts on water quality in boreal landscapes are available, there is little guidance regarding terrestrial impacts. Scoping of potential impacts of Cu-Ni exploration and mining in sulfide ores are presented for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), Minnesota USA, an area of mostly boreal forest on thin soils and granitic bedrock. Although the primary footprint of the proposed mines would be outside the BWCAW, displacement and fragmentation of forest ecosystems would cause spatial propagation of effects into a secondary footprint within the wilderness. Potential negative impacts include disruption of population dynamics for wildlife species with migration routes, or metapopulations of plant species that span the wilderness boundary, and establishment of invasive species outside the wilderness that could invade the wilderness. Due to linkages between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, acid mine drainage can impact lowland forests, which are highly dependent on chemistry of water flowing through them. The expected extremes in precipitation and temperature due to warming climate can also interact with mining impacts to reduce the resilience of forests to disturbance caused by mining.

KW - Boreal forest

KW - Copper-nickel mining

KW - Environmental impact of mining

KW - Sulfide mining

KW - Wilderness ecology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85072554234&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85072554234&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3390/f10090747

DO - 10.3390/f10090747

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:85072554234

VL - 10

JO - Forests

JF - Forests

SN - 1999-4907

IS - 9

M1 - 747

ER -