Historical Perspectives of Ecological Reclamation

R. Ries
1993 Journal American Society of Mining and Reclamation  
Dissatisfaction with the problems and quality of orphan minespoil left after early surface mining activity stimulated interest in reclaiming newly mined land to some level of productivity and stability. Before reclamation became mandatory, scientists began studying the ecology of abandoned minespoils. Individuals also initiated efforts to seed or plant trees on orphan spoils. The relationship of development and growth of new flora and fauna to the environmental factors following mining was one
more » ... ing mining was one of the first ecological principles intensively studied. Environmental factors limiting reclamation potential were low and irregular precipitation, high temperatures, high evaporation/transpiration rates, and adverse soil/spoil properties such as high or low pH, high sodium and/or salt content, low nutrient content, excessively fine or coarse textures, lack of soil structure, and excessive soil compaction. Various grass, forb, shrub, and tree ·species were better adapted to specific environmental conditions encountered after mining than other species. Succession was the second important ecological principle studied in relationship to reclamation. Application of various treatments accelerated natural successional processes. Future research needs to develop a better understanding of the function and interrelationships within individual ecosystems and how these individual ecosystems integrate to influence the environment of the earth. This knowledge will be the scientific key to maintaining and improving the world's environment. Additional
doi:10.21000/jasmr93010003 fatcat:wczixjstjfbkxpfthgiaw3bliu