Building Suitable Restoration Approaches in the Brownfields

Authored by: Singarayer K. Florentine , Patrick Graz , Augustine Doronila , Rachael Martin , Kim Dowling , Nimesha Fernando

Sustainability in the Mineral and Energy Sectors

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498733021
eBook ISBN: 9781315369853
Adobe ISBN:


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Human activity has, in the recent past, resulted in substantial changes in land cover, ecosystem health, and the ability of affected ecosystems to return to their original state. This necessitates further human intervention to recreate the systems functions than the present. Earlier restoration activities have not been documented extensively. This hinders our efforts to identify approaches that might support further work. To a large extent this is attributable to a lack of clearly stated aims that would facilitate targeted management approaches. In this chapter, we propose a theoretical foundation for the development of restoration activities and programs using a “state and transition” model approach. In this context, “states” are a combination of components and processes that define the system’s existence. “Transitions,” on the other hand, are those activities necessary to move a system between states. Our approach recognizes the possibility of alternative states to which a system might be changed. This is particularly the case of brownfields, which are industrial or commercial sites that are inactive or underused because of real or perceived environmental pollution. Moreover, this approach also recognizes that the activities that cause the transition from one state to another are likely to differ. We discuss phytoremediation as an important restoration tool, to show plants may be used in the restoration of even severely contaminated sites. Nevertheless, it must be recognized that not all plants are suitable in all situations and it is necessary to select potential species and planting methods with care. We then provide a list of desirable plant characteristics to be considered when selecting plants for such applications.

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