Quarrying

The construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline disturbed over 78,500 ha of land, 31,700 ha or 40% of which was for gravel borrow sites or quarries. These numbers are fairly typical results of disturbance accrued during the course of petroleum exploration and development in northwest Siberia. For example, quarrying for sand and construction of sand drilling pads at the Bovanenkovo Gas Field on Yamal Peninsula alone had, by 1990, led to the loss of 127,000 ha (1270 km2) of tundra. As the ground is completely denuded, this has led to a significant loss of summer reindeer pasture, and native Nenets reindeer herders have complained about this. All quarries—sand, gravel, and rubble—are slow and difficult to revegetate either naturally or with assistance and are therefore generally kept to a minimum by companies currently active in the North American Arctic. In the best-case scenario, a complete plant cover is possible over a period of 20-30 years, although costly subsidies of nutrients, organic matter, and water are typically required to achieve this. Furthermore, the majority of plants that are either planted intentionally, or eventually colonize the site naturally, are not likely to be those that occurred there originally.

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