Land Restoration

Authored by: Richard W. Bell

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120046433

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Abstract

Restoration of degraded land is a largely untapped opportunity, worldwide, that can enhance the natural capital of land and the provision of soil ecosystem services. The most extreme cases of land disturbance causing degradation are commonly associated with mining. Conversely, best practice in land restoration has emerged from the land disturbed by mining. Determination of end land use is critical for developing a land restoration strategy, since it is a prerequisite for the clear identification of limiting factors and possible amelioration approaches, as well as for the development of success or completion criteria. Where land restoration managers seek to return the original vegetation, as well as the critical ecosystem functions, several cycles of research and adaptive management are needed to achieve a high level of success. In this case, a flexible approach to setting end land use is advisable. Sound principles for land restoration are emerging from site-specific research and adaptive management, but the future challenge is to scale up these practices to larger land areas degraded by a variety of processes.

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