Biodiversity and Cultural Property in the Management of Limestone Resources in East Asia: Lessons from East Asia (Directions in Development)


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January 1999


This study focuses on the quarrying of limestone, as a subsidiary element of infrastructure projects, whose impact is not adequately assessed; even environmental assessments do not take full account of the potential of its biological, cultural, geological, and scenic features; thus, the awareness of these features forms the core of this study. The main use of limestone, a non-renewable resource, is examined, for, it is an essential raw material for cement manufacture, paramount for the construction industry. Furthermore, limestone is of major developmental importance, since the production of cement is often used as a barometer of growth and progress. However, the emphasis of the study is on the bio-diversity aspects, and cultural properties of limestone surroundings, not often taken into account. The bio-diversity of limestone ecosystems comprises species, who survive due to the abundance of calcium carbonate, enduring dry soil conditions, or species uniquely confined to limestone caves. Extinctions of limestone-restricted species have been recorded, and the status of other species, with significant economic value, is perilous. Culturally and historically, limestone areas are highly significant, as they may harbor evidences of early human culture in East Asia, providing, insights on prehistoric data through paleontological remains, and, invaluable information on environmental conditions and climate. The study discusses impact mitigation measures, limestone management options, and provides the rational, and sustainable means to exploit these resources.

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