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      Analysis of Plant and Soil Restoration Process and Degree of Refuse Dumps in Open-Pit Coal Mining Areas


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          Vegetation and soil restoration are the key to ecological reconstruction in the damaged areas of open-pit coal mining areas. Ecological stability is an important indicator of the degree of ecological restoration. In this study, the ecological stability and the process of plant and soil restoration were investigated at different refuse dumps in three coal mines, namely, the Wulanhada (WLHD) coal mine, the Liulingou (LLG) coal mine, and the Jinzhengtai (JZT) coal mine, in Jungar Banner. Results show that organic matter, total N, available N, and available K increased with the increase in restoration age at the two coal mines of WLHD and LLG. In the JZT coal mine, organic matter, total N, and available K firstly increased, and then slightly decreased with the increase in restoration age. The redundancy analysis indicates that most reclaimed mine soil properties (including soil moisture content, organic matter, total N, and available K) are positively correlated with plant species diversity in the three coal mines, while soil pH and soil bulk density showed a negative correlation with plant species diversity. Plant parameters increased with the years since revegetation, except the Pielou index for the WLHD coal mine, and the Pielou and Margalef indexes for the JZT coal mine. The Euclidean distance between the restoration areas and the natural reference areas decreased with the increase in restoration age. Our findings suggest that, in the three coal mines, the change law of ecological stability conformed to the logistic succession model. The same degree of ecological stability in different refuse dumps may correspond to different degrees of vegetation and soil development. This study emphasizes that ecological restoration in mining areas could benefit the structure of the plant community and the recovery of soil properties, which would eventually improve the ecological stability of coal mining areas.

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          Most cited references54

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          Evaluating Ecological Restoration Success: A Review of the Literature

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            Ecological restoration of mineland with particular reference to the metalliferous mine wasteland in China: A review of research and practice.

            M. Li (2006)
            Despite a principal contributor to the rapid economic growth, the mining industry in China produced a large amount of wasteland and caused water pollution and soil erosion as well as other environmental damages. In 2002, this industry generated 265.4 Mt tailings, 130.4 Mt gangue and 107.8 Mt smelting slags. The degraded land associated with mining is estimated to be 3.2 Mha by the end of 2004, deteriorating the land shortage of China. Restoration of mine wasteland began in late 1970s but the restoration process was sluggish. The overall restoration rate (the ratio of reclaimed land area to the total degraded land area) of mine wasteland was some 10-12% with a higher rate for coal mine spoils but a lower rate for metal-mined derelict land. From 1994 to 2004, 149 research papers were published about the restoration of China's mining wasteland, of which 70 were on metal-mined land and 61 on the non-metal-mined land. Although 37 institutions in China were involved in the restoration research, only a few remained active and productive. Metal-mined derelict land is often more metal toxic and deficient of macronutrients and is tougher for revegetation. Many substrate amelioration techniques were proposed and tolerant plant species were tested for use of reclamation of the metal-mined tailings. Five hyperaccumulator species have been reported in China for the potential use in phytoremediation. However, these accomplishments were all at laboratory or small-scale field demonstration stage and still far from the practical use in reality. To accelerate the restoration and utilization of mine wasteland, several recommendations are put forward in this review. Above these suggestions, the commitment and efficiency of the government at all levels are vital.
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              Ecological restoration of land with particular reference to the mining of metals and industrial minerals: A review of theory and practice


                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                17 March 2020
                March 2020
                : 17
                : 6
                : 1975
                [1 ]Engineering Research Center of Ministry of Education for Mine Ecological Restoration, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China; xinhui.li@ 123456cumt.edu.cn
                [2 ]School of Environment Science and Spatial Informatics, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
                [3 ]Environmental Restoration and Management Center of Jungar Banner Mining Area, Ordos 017100, China; 18647179995@ 123456163.com (F.L.); wvz123888@ 123456163.com (W.W.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: lsgang@ 123456126.com
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 08 February 2020
                : 15 March 2020

                Public health
                plant community characteristics,soil properties,refuse dumps,restoration,ecological stability


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