Authors: Harris, JA

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Harris, JA 2012, 'Ecosystem concepts: can we use them to guide management decision-making in mine closure programmes?', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2012: Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 23-32,

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The challenges and opportunities presented by large-scale extractive mining are diverse and complex. Except where hard infrastructure is to be put in place post-mining, a return to some degree of ecosystem function is a goal of reclamation and restoration programmes. There are well-established ecological concepts which may be employed to guide the way in which mine rehabilitation during closure may be carried out to provide effective and sustainable ecosystem function. Selecting and achieving targets based on current ecological concepts will be explored including crossing biotic and abiotic thresholds, ecosystem structure and function, heterogeneity, ecosystem maturity, below-ground indicators, novel ecosystems, preparing for climate change and the challenge of invasives. This will be set in a societal context by exploring Natural Capital and Ecosystem Service thinking as a framework, illustrating how such approaches can be set in a wider landscape and socio-economic context.

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