Researchers Investigate How Fracking Affects Pennsylvania's Landscapes

A new study focuses on how said industry impacts on the ecosystems in this region

By on July 16th, 2012 14:07 GMT

It is no news that environmentalists throughout the world are dead set against fracking, on account of it negatively impacting on the wellbeing of natural ecosystems.

A recently made public report focuses on how Pennsylvania's landscapes are responding to the intense hydraulic fracturing operations carried out in this area throughout the past decades.

Apparently, ever since the second half of the 19th century, this American state has had more than 325,000 oil and gas wells drilled into its lands.

As of recently, drilling activities in this region have only intensified, given the fact that still unexploited reserves of natural gas have been found here.

According to News Wise, researchers now argue that, as opposed to drilling, fracking causes much more damage to the environment, as massive amounts of water are injected into the underground and thus both destabilize local geology, and contaminate water resources.

This latest study by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America is to be published in the July issue of CSA News, and argues that, whereas Pennsylvania's economy depends on fracking in order to stay afloat, this practice has a devastating effect on local forests.

One of the most widespread consequences of hydraulic fracturing operations on otherwise intact forest areas is known as “forest fragmentation.”

This phrase basically refers to the fact that, since roads, compressor stations and storage ponds need be built to accommodate for the drilling industry, forests are inevitably left with “holes” in their midst.

Moreover, due to the fact that, as we already mentioned, fracking affects local geology, it is also possible that forests lose their ability to retain nutrients.

As well as this, trees might find themselves no longer being able to hold the soil in its place, something that might lead to devastating landslides nobody could have anticipated.

From where we stand, those working in the drilling industry and environmentalists must soon find a compromise to protect both Pennsylvania's economy and the forest areas still standing in this part of the world, otherwise disaster might be just around the corner.

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