A research project to map the impacts of metal mining and its mitigation measures across the Arctic and boreal regions.

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3MK: Mapping the impact of Mining using Multiple Knowledges

What knowledge exists on the impacts of metal mining (and its mitigation measures) on social ecological systems in Arctic and Boreal regions?

This Formas-funded project is led by researchers and experts at Stockholm Environment Institute in collaboration with Carleton University.

By synthesising multiple knowledge systems, this topic will break new ground in developing methods for integrating diverse forms of evidence. It will also attempt to collate and understand the nature of knowledge from research, planning documents, and indigenous and local knowledge systems.

You can read the full project documentation on the Open Science Framework mini site here.

Project summary

As mining in the Arctic increases, there is an urgent need to assess social and environmental impacts as well as mitigate negative impacts.

This project will develop a multiple evidence base methodology combining systematic review approaches with mapping of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK), applying this approach in a case study of the impacts of metal mining (iron, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, gold, silver, molybdenum) in Arctic and boreal systems.

Systematic reviews are ‘gold standard’ summaries of research evidence, but cannot include other forms of knowledge, e.g. ILK. Theoretical frameworks for synthesising multiple evidence bases have been proposed but see limited practical application.

This project develops a co-synthesis methodology to concurrently map research evidence, proposed impacts in environmental and social impact assessments (EIAs/SIAs), and ILK co-produced with Sami communities in Sweden. It will assess available knowledge on the impacts of base metal mining in boreal and arctic regions and the effects of mitigation measures in Sweden.

In spite of an increase in mining, evidence of impacts on social-ecological systems is patchy: there has been no review of impacts on Sami lands for example. Similarly, evidence on the direct and indirect effects of mitigation measures is disparate and spread across disciplines. This issue is therefore well-suited to a multiple evidence base approach to provide an enhanced knowledge base for decision-making.

This project will produce an interactive knowledge map, displaying the type and volume of evidence, highlighting knowledge gaps and clusters, and suggesting topics warranting further research or management.

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