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Restoration of Open‐Cut Mining in Semi‐Arid Systems: A Synthesis of Long‐Term Monitoring Data and Implications for Management

Published on Apr 1, 2018in Land Degradation & Development4.275
· DOI :10.1002/ldr.2746
Nancy Shackelford9
Estimated H-index: 9
(UVic: University of Victoria),
Ben P. Miller23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority),
Todd E. Erickson14
Estimated H-index: 14
(Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority)
Abstract
Restoration is becoming an increasing global priority. Particularly in high impact developments like open cut mining, restoring ecosystems to pre-disturbance states is difficult but essential. Successful restoration of vegetation communities requires complex achievements of cover, density, community composition, species richness and structural elements. This study synthesizes 10 years of monitoring surveys to measure restoration success in six mining operations in the semi-arid Pilbara of Western Australia, with the goal of quantifying current and past restoration performance. We assessed composition, structure, cover, density, and richness. We found that each metric resulted in slightly different performance measures within mining operations. For example, native perennial grasses in restored sites fell short of reference density and cover, while woody species density and cover were regularly within the reference range. Richness was often much higher in restored than in reference sites. Finally, to explore the potential drivers of performance, we analyzed the influence of restoration characteristics on each of the vegetation metrics. We found that older restoration had increased cover and density of all vegetation types compared to more recent restoration, while other variables had impacts on restoration results that shifted between metrics and monitoring periods. Compositional similarity with reference sites was higher when restoration occurred on low impact mining activities, when first year rainfall was higher, and when seeding treatments were not applied. Overall, this assessment of long-term monitoring data highlighted where each performance measure was important to understanding overall restoration patterns in semi-arid systems and paves the way for improving future restoration practice.
  • References (42)
  • Citations (11)
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References42
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#1Wolfgang Lewandrowski (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 7
#2Todd E. Erickson (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 14
Last. Jason C. Stevens (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 13
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Summary 1.Demographic recruitment processes, such as seed germination and seedling emergence, are critical transitional phases to the re-establishment of degraded plant populations, but often fail due to rainfall not supporting plant requirements. Using species from the widespread arid Australian perennial grass genus Triodia, we investigated the interactions of seeds in different dormancy states and their functional germination envelope in response to water stress after simulated pulse rainfall...
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#1Todd E. Erickson (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 14
#2David J. Merritt (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 31
Last. Shane R. Turner (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 21
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The relative effectiveness of wet- and dry-heat treatments on alleviating physical dormancy (PY) of seeds of seven species of Fabaceae and five species of Malvaceae was determined to optimise seed handling procedures for ecological restoration. Seeds of all species were treated at different temperatures (40−100°C) for various durations (2 and 5 min of wet heat, and 5, 10 and 30 min of dry heat). Prior to treatment, seeds of all species exhibited low germination (0–38%). As hypothesised, there wa...
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#1Olga A. Kildisheva (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 4
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#1Peter J. Golos (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 6
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#1Miriam Muñoz-Rojas (UWA: University of Western Australia)H-Index: 16
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Reinstating dominant Triodia grassland communities following disturbance has been a focus of arid land restoration practitioners for decades in Australia. Yet, seed quality and variable seed germination have seriously hindered the reestablishment potential of Triodia species to date. This study set out to examine diaspore quality, germination requirements, and seed dormancy in seven Triodia species to identify first, then resolve, germination impediments. Freshly collected florets from all speci...
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Abstract. Land degradation affects 10–20 % of drylands globally. Intensive land use and management, large-scale disturbances such as extractive operations, and global climate change, have contributed to degradation of these systems worldwide. Restoring these damaged environments is critical to improving ecosystem services and functions, conserve biodiversity, and contribute to climate resilience, food security, and landscape sustainability. Here, we present a case study on plant species of the m...
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