The Impact Of Multiple Actions On The Environment

2123 Words Apr 15th, 2015 9 Pages
1. Introduction
Many research efforts have demonstrated that a direct environmental impact from a single action is often insignificant, and in reality, it is the numerous minor impacts from multiple actions that cause the greatest environmental harm (Dales 2011, Franks et al. 2012, DNRM 2013, Finlayson et al. 2008, Neville 2009, Sonter et al. 2013). These are referred to as cumulative impacts, “the successive, incremental, and combined impacts of multiple actions on the environment” (Dales, J 2011). There are four characteristics of cumulative impacts as summarized from Franks et al. 2012, these include;
1. Cumulative impacts may be caused by future, present or past activities,
2. Cumulative impacts can differ greatly in intensity, space and time,
3. Cumulative impacts may result from the interaction or accumulation of direct or indirect impacts, be additive to existing stressors, or trigger new impacts,
4. Cumulative impacts may build up over a period of time, or reach a point at which significant environmental, social and economic, either beneficial or detrimental, can occur
Cumulative, direct and indirect impacts are often differentiated into two types, sink and source impacts. A sink impact results from a material input into a receiving environment (e.g. dust, noise and atmospheric pollution, funding), and a source impact results from the removal of a material from a receiving environment (e.g. removal of surface and ground water, changes to biodiversity, additional…
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