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Title: Mining, forests and land-use conflict : the case of Ghana
Author: Hirons, Mark Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 9536
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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Mineral resources are essential to the functioning and wellbeing of human societies. There is mounting concern, however, about the environmental degradation and social impacts typically resulting from mineral extraction. As a result, the mining industry is increasingly embracing the sustainability agenda, that is, pursuing development which ostensibly balances economic, social and environmental interests. In recent years, escalating anxiety over climate change in particular has propelled forest conservation to the top of the sustainability agenda which, in the case of mining, has increased attention on the loss of forest cover associated with activities, the success of reclamation and the manifold social conflicts often associated with resource-use. The hegemonic neoliberal approach to environmental governance has led to a burgeoning of strategies to manage forests using carbon finance as a conduit for investment. Although these schemes purportedly facilitate the mitigation of carbon emissions on a global scale while simultaneously delivering economic benefits to poor local communities, there is apprehension regarding the prospect of projects being implemented in contexts in which the dynamics of resource-use are not adequately understood. Cross-sectoral issues are among the concerns which have yet to receive sufficient attention. The purpose of this thesis is to broaden understanding of the interactions between the poorly articulated and understood relationship between mining, forests, climate change and development. Using the case of Ghana, where conflicts and trade-offs between mining and forests proliferate, an interdisciplinary and exploratory approach is taken to investigate the impact of mining on forest carbon stocks, survey the perspectives and influence of key stakeholders on mining-forest conflicts, and determine how these cross-sectoral issues are governed. Findings reveal that public and policy discourse on mining in forest areas focuses on formal activities in forest reserves and the relative success of reclamation. An examination of carbon stocks under different land-uses shows that reclamation does not completely restore carbon stocks to levels found in forests, but that it can restore approximately 10% of carbon on decadal timescales. This underscores the limitations of pursuing a purely technocratic approach to policy-making: although science is a necessary component of sound governance it is it not sufficient per se. The results further demonstrate the potential for carbon-finance to support reclamation activities in both the large- and small-scale mining sectors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available