Effect of small scale gold mining on vegetation species diversity in Umzingwane district

Author(s): Sethi Sibanda, M.J.Masaka, A.Chirima

Small scale gold mining in Umzingwane like in other developing countries has remained artisanal in nature and is the only livelihood option in the current prevailing climatic conditions. This study examined the effects of small scale goldmining on the floristic composition of vegetation inward 14 and 15 within the period between February 2012 and November 2012. Stratified random sampling design was used to assess and compare vegetation characteristics under two strata; undisturbed (protected area) and small scale gold mined sites. Woody tree species diversity varied significantly between a mined and undisturbed site (t-test, p < 0.05). The results also indicated less significant differences in grass species diversity (p<0.05). Both tree species richness and diversity decreased due to small scale gold mining while grass species were increased due to disturbance. The significant differences in vegetation floristic composition indicated that small scale gold mining operations reduce biodiversity thus; there is an urgent need to come up with sustainable policies to govern the ballooning mining sector for sustainability of the future biodiversity.

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