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Monday, April 9 • 11:30am - 11:45am
LAND USE/LAND COVER CHANGE: Impacts of Surface Coal Mining on the Environment in the Mongolian Plateau

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AUTHORS: Qun Ma*, Beijing Normal University; Jianguo Wu, Arizona State University & Beijing Normal University; Chunyang He, Beijing Normal University; Xuening Fang, Beijing Normal University

ABSTRACT: The rapid expansion of surface coal mining on the Mongolian Plateau has resulted in a myriad of environmental problems, negatively affecting ecosystem structure and function as well as ecosystem services that are essential to human wellbeing in the region. To effectively copy with the current environmental problems and develop sustainable solutions for the Mongolian Plateau, it is imperative to understand the spatiotemporal patterns of surface coal mining and its impacts on the environment during the past several decades. The objective of this study was, therefore, to use spatially explicit methods to quantify landscape dynamics of surface coal mining on the Mongolian Plateau from the 1970s to 2015, and assess its impacts on land cover and water resources. Our results showed that surface coal mining areas on the Mongolian Plateau expanded extremely fast during the study period, with an annual growth rate of 9. 13% - nearly two times that of population (5. 56%) for the same period. The rapid expansion of surface coal mining destroyed large areas of habitat. Grasslands were the most severely disturbed ecosystem type by the surface coal mining. Surface coal mining also consumed an enormous amount of water, with total water use increasing from 135. 85 million tons to 2315. 76 million tons between 1990 and 2015. Our findings help improve our understanding of how surface coal mining impacts ecosystem structure and function, which is necessary for developing strategies for promoting sustainable development in the Mongolian Plateau.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am CDT
Grant Park Parlor

Attendees (3)