Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Policy Forums
Biodiversity monitoring in the environmental impact assessment of mining projects: a (persistent) waste of time and money?
Amanda Monique da Silva Diasa,, , Alberto Fonsecab, Adriano Pereira Pagliac
a Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia de Biomas Tropicais, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
b Programa de Pós-Graduação em Engenharia Ambiental, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, MG, Brazil
c Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
Received 02 December 2016, Accepted 06 June 2017

Environmental impact assessments, not only in Brazil, but also globally, have long had their effectiveness questioned. Among the most frequently debated problems are: low quality of the impact assessment statements, weak public participation, project delays, increased costs for proponents, amongst others. The ineffectiveness of the environmental impact assessment system is corroborated by recent scholarly articles that argue that poor follow-up is one of the key elements behind the worst environmental disaster in Brazil, the Fundão Dam failure. The quality of monitoring programs has long been criticized in Brazil for being partially implemented and for failing to clearly translate into better environmental decision-making. This paper discusses the state of environmental impact assessment related to biodiversity monitoring programs in Brazil's mining regions, highlighting the political interference around this practice. Biodiversity monitoring programs should set a collection protocol, using a robust sampling design, with sufficient survey effort, spatial replication, methodological consistency and time to detect eventual ecological alterations. Without scientific rigor, collected data may have no value for decision-making, representing a complete waste of time and money.


  • Biodiversity monitoring in EIAs generally lack scientific rigor.

  • They are unable to clearly correlate biodiversity information and mining impacts.

  • The negligence in follow up controls can jeopardize conservation efforts.

  • Improving biodiversity monitoring in EIAs of mining projects is necessary.

  • Unfortunately, many efforts are being made to facilitate the license process.

Biodiversity, Monitoring, Environmental impact assessment, Mining, Brazil