12 Pages


What all these environmentalist observations have in common is that they are focusing narrowly on the site-specific impacts of oil and mineral production on forests. Concerns about the effects of oil and mining operations on forests and the people who inhabit them have been a major focus of global campaigns to save the rainforests. Conservationist efforts to change the behaviour of oil companies and governments have included guidelines on how to minimise oil’s environmental impacts in ecologically sensitive production environments (IUCN 1993) and on what sites should not be explored at all because of the risks involved (WWF 2002). But such an approach remains incomplete, because on-site impacts are only one way in which such activity affects forests. Economy-wide impacts related to oil and mineral wealth can – and often do – have dramatic effects on forests. Yet these factors have generally been overlooked in a debate which has focused only on what is apparent to the eye.