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Restoring Jarrah Forest in Southwestern Australia after Bauxite Mining
Alcoa of Australia Limited is the world’s largest bauxite miner and alumina refiner.  This company has mined bauxite in the jarrah forest in western Australia since 1963, and the first restorations were carried out in 1966 (Koch and Ward 1994).  The goal of rehabilitation is to establish a “self-sustaining, jarrah forest ecosystem that maintains the water, timber, conservation, recreation, and other values of the pre-mining forest” (Ward et al. 1997).

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystems in Mediterranean Regions
This project will investigate innovative techniques for plant cultivation and plantation, and seeding, that will be tested in the field. Plant species to be investigated include native tall shrubs and trees, especially adapted to dry mediterranean conditions. These species have deep rooting systems and resprouting capacity: carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), cork oak (Quercus suber), holm oak (Quercus ilex), mastic tree (Pistacia Ientiscus), kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and the fodder shrub Medicago arborea. The research will address the restoration of extremely degraded wildlands, representative of desertified areas in the Mediterranean Europe previously identified.

Restoration of Mediterranean Evergreen Oak Woodland
The “evergreen cork and holm oak – grassland” agroforestry ecosystems are essentially of anthropogenic origin. Their stability and long term viability may become unbalanced if one of the stability factors is modified. Grazing is one of those factors. Its reduction or cessation may result in an entirely different landscape with more grass if trees do not regenerate or with more trees if tree regeneration is facilitated by the grass ecosystem. The complex interaction between plants with different canopy layers (trees and grass) deserves great attention.

Alcoa World Alumina Australia: Restored Bauxite Mines in Western Australia

In 1990 we published our current restoration objective; ‘To restore a self-sustaining jarrah forest ecosystem, planned to enhance or maintain water, timber, recreation and conservation values.’ Implicit in achieving this objective is an understanding of the successional pathways and drivers of this ecosystem.

del-park-mine-crusher-site-1980grn.jpg   del-park-mine-crusher-site-2001grn.jpg
(Photos courtesy of Alcoa World Alumina Australia)

Over the last three decades we have undertaken much research which includes but is not restricted to tree growth, water use and root growth, nutrient accumulation and cycling, soil development, microbial respiration, pathogenic organisms, fungal and mycorrhizal succession, vascular plant succession, invertebrate and vertebrate fauna succession.  All of this work indicates that our restored forests are proceeding along a development trajectory towards the pre-mining forest.

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