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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

3 - Ecological impacts of extractive industries on ape populations



This chapter explores the significant threats and risks to apes, and their habitat, that result from the activities of extractive industries. All apes are protected by national and international laws throughout their geographic range. It is therefore illegal to kill, capture, or trade in either live apes or their body parts. It is important to understand where and how extractive industries affect great apes and their habitat during each phase of a project. In mining, oil, and gas projects (Chapter 5), these phases include exploration and evaluation, preliminary engineering and alternatives analysis, final engineering and site selection, construction and commissioning, operation, closure, and post-closure phases. All phases of all extractive industries are likely to have some impact on resident apes, although the scale and severity are likely to vary. Generally speaking, the behavior and physiology of wildlife are known to be impacted by human activities (Griffiths and van Schaik, 1993; Kinnaird and O'Brien, 1996; Woodford, Butynski, and Karesh, 2002; Blom et al., 2004a; Wikelski and Cooke, 2006; Rabanal et al., 2010; Ruesto et al., 2010; Chan and Blumstein, 2011). Species' responses to environmental disturbance will, however, vary according to their biological dispositions and the type and scale of disturbance. For example, species with highly specialized requirements may manifest significant adverse impacts, as found in studies looking at the impact of logging on terrestrial and bark-gleaning insectivorous birds or bats, while those with more general requirements may be less affected (Putz et al., 2001; Peters, Malcolm, and Zimmerman, 2006).