Mining of mineral resources results in extensive soil damage, altering microbial communities and affecting vegetation leading to destruction of vast amounts of land. Reclamation is the process to restore the ecological integrity of these disturbed mine land areas. It includes the management of all types of physical, chemical and biological disturbances of soils such as soil pH, fertility, microbial community and various soil nutrient cycles that makes the degraded land soil productive. Productivity of soil can be increased by adding various natural amendments such as saw dust, wood residues, sewage sludge, animal manures, as these amendments stimulate the microbial activity which provides the nutrients (N, P) and organic carbon to the soil. The top soil gets seriously damaged during mineral extraction. The consequences of physical disturbance to the top soil during stripping, stockpiling, and reinstatement cause unusually large N transformations and movements with eventually substantial loss. Management of top soil is important for reclamation plan to reduce the N losses and to increase soil nutrients and microbes. Revegetation constitutes the most widely accepted and useful way to reduce erosion and protect soils against degradation during reclamation. Mine restoration efforts have focused on N-fixing species of legumes, grasses, herbs, and trees. Metal tolerant plants can be effective for acidic and heavy metals bearing soils. Reclamation of abandoned mine land is a very complex process. Once the reclamation plan is complete and vegetation has established, the assessment of the reclaimed site is necessary to evaluate the success of reclamation. Evaluation of reclamation success focuses on measuring the occurrence and distribution of soil microflora community which is regulated by interactions between C and nutrient availabilities. Reclamation success also measures the structure and functioning of mycorrhizal symbiosis and various enzymatic activities in soil. This paper includes physical, chemical and biological mine soil properties, their management to make soil productive, top soil management, vegetation of various species and assessment of effectiveness of reclamation.
Sheoran, V.; Sheoran, A. S.; and Poonia, P.
"Soil Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Land by Revegetation: A Review,"
International Journal of Soil, Sediment and Water: Vol. 3
, Article 13.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/intljssw/vol3/iss2/13