Mining and deforestation go hand in hand, with impacts that include displacement of species and pollution of water sources. A 2012 study attributed only 7% of global forest loss to mining, and the vast majority, nearly 73%, to subsistence farming and industrial agriculture such as cultivation of oil palms and soybeans, and cattle ranching. But this could soon change as the world’s population grows and demand for energy continues to increase. The shift toward low-carbon power generation in the form of solar panels and wind turbines, will require an extensive amount of minerals. An average 3-megawatt wind turbine powering around 1,500 households needs 4 to 7 tons of copper and 3 tons of aluminum, derived from bauxite. These resources, as well as other minerals like zinc, nickel and cobalt, essential in battery storage technology, are mostly found in tropical and subtropical forests. This raises questions of whether, and how, their extraction can be compatible with forest conservation. A recent research paper published by the U.K. policy think tank Chatham House analyzed the impacts of the extractive industries on forests and looked into the potentials of “forest-smart mining,” an approach developed by the World Bank to mitigate the adverse effects of mining on sensitive ecosystems. “Up to one-third of the world’s forests may already be affected by mining with regions such as the Amazon, the Congo Basin and Southeast Asia at particular risk,” writes Siân Bradley, who authored the report. “While mining is not always a primary direct driver of deforestation…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer