We explore the role of mining in contributing to deforestation across 300 plus districts in India. Using a unique dataset, covering the period 2001–2014, the impact of mining related deforestation is delineated from those driven by various socio-economic, demographic and climatic factors. The roles of several minerals, such as coal, iron, bauxite, dolomite, limestone, manganese, quartz, fireclay and granite are explicitly tested using econometric analysis. Findings indicate that, on average, a district that did not produce any of the minerals considered in the study had suffered about 350 km2 lower forest area loss compared to a mineral producing district. Districts that produced coal, iron or limestone, saw on average 450 km2 higher forest cover loss compared to those that did not produce the same minerals. Iron ore production was positively associated with barren land area across districts, whereas forest cover loss was higher in districts that produced higher amounts of limestone or granite. Overall, mining has evidently contributed to deforestation at a district level, and within the mineral groups considered in this study, coal, iron and limestone have had the most adverse impact on forest area loss. However, minerals such as fireclay, manganese, dolomite, and quartz are being produced in districts that have seen either a lower deforestation rate or an improvement in forest area over the study period. Among the non-mining related drivers of deforestation, higher share of cropping area in a district's geographical area significantly contributed to deforestation.
- Barren land area
- Cropping intensity and deforestation
- Deforestation from coal mining
- Deforestation from iron mining
- District level deforestation
- Mining and deforestation