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The mitigation hierarchy in environmental impact assessment and related legislation as a tool for species conservation: A case study of western chimpanzees and mining development

Evans, Thomas, Wingard, James, Humle, Tatyana (2021) The mitigation hierarchy in environmental impact assessment and related legislation as a tool for species conservation: A case study of western chimpanzees and mining development. Biological Conservation, 261 . Article Number 109237. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109237) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:89046)

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Abstract

Global biodiversity loss is occurring at an alarming rate, with a growing consensus that we are entering a sixth mass extinction. Rapid human development and associated habitat loss, principally through agriculture, infrastructure and extractive industries, is a significant contributor. The critically endangered western chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus) is at the nexus of the development-habitat loss conflict with 83% of the subspecies occurring outside protected areas. To protect its habitat, robust regulation of large-scale development, in particular through Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures that adequately incorporate the Mitigation Hierarchy Principles (MHPs), is required. We developed a framework to review EIA and related legislation in all eight western chimpanzee range countries and assessed how well they incorporate MHPs, focusing specifically on mining activity. Costa Rica was selected as a benchmark of good practice, based on the recognised quality of its biodiversity laws. Overall performance of the eight countries fell substantially below that of Costa Rica. Whilst isolated good examples were identified, the overall approach legislates for broad concepts but fails to deliver on detailed provisions. As recommended by the current regional action plan for the conservation of western chimpanzees, all countries would benefit from urgent legislative reform to better incorporate MHPs within EIA procedures. This study provides recommendations in that regard together with a replicable tool for assessing EIA legislation in other jurisdictions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2021.109237
Uncontrolled keywords: Law reform, Chimpanzee, environmental impact assessments, mitigation hierarchy, habitat loss, International Finance Corporation, extractive industries
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Tatyana Humle
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2021 11:07 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 15:38 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/89046 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Humle, Tatyana: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1919-631X
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