Authors: Thompson, SA; Thompson, GG


DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_64

Cite As:
Thompson, SA & Thompson, GG 2006, 'Quantification of Rehabilitation Success on Mine Site Waste Dumps', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 731-740, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/605_64

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero


Abstract:
The Rehabilitation and Degradation Index (RDI) was developed to assesses the extent to which a rehabilitated or disturbed area has progressed toward the creation of a near-natural, self-sustaining, functional ecosystem similar to that in an adjacent undisturbed area or alternatively how a disturbance factor such as agriculture, mining or cane toads have impacted on the functional ecosystems that existed prior to the disturbance. We argue that the rehabilitation objective for most mine sites and other large-scale disturbance projects should be to restore biotic integrity to a disturbed area. However, biotic integrity is a difficult concept to measure, and so efforts to restore the integrity of a site have often focussed on non-biological measures such as chemical and geophysical parameters (Environmental Protection Authority, 2006; Jasper, 2001; Riley, 1995; Van Horne, 1983). Biotic integrity is defined here as the ability of an ecosystem to support and maintain “a balanced, integrated, adaptive community of organisms having a species composition, diversity and functional organization comparable to that of the natural habitat of the region” (Karr, 1981). A variety of bio-indicators have been used to assess the impact of a disturbance on the biotic integrity of an area or the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program in restoring the biotic integrity of an area. The rationale that underpins most of these bio-indicators is that environmental disturbance leads to a reduction in the number of species and the dominance of a few species (Patrick, 1949), and a totally degraded or polluted environment supports few or none of the species endemic to the locality. The RDI is based broadly on the concepts of the Index of Biotic Integrity that was developed by Karr et al. (1986) to measure the health of riverine ecosystems, most of which were degraded by pollution and land management practices. In a rehabilitation context, the Index measures the reverse; i.e. the progress towards the establishment of a near-natural, self-sustaining, functional ecosystem. Others have also used Karr’s method and developed similar indices; see Stribbling et al. (1998) for benthic macro-invertebrates, Majer and Beeston (1996) for ants, Bradford et al. (1998) for birds and O’Connell et al. (1998; 2000) for songbirds. Other researchers have used invertebrates (Andersen et al., 2003; Bisevac and Majer, 1998; 1999; Majer, 2001; Nakamura et al., 2003; Read, 1999), birds (Armstrong and Nichols, 2000; Chase et al., 2000; Read and Andersen, 2000), mammals (Fox, 1997; Wilson and Friend, 1999) or reptiles (Nichols and Gardner, 1997; Read, 1999) to measure the integrity of rehabilitated areas. However, many of these studies have only considered the presence of species and not their relative abundance. Thompson and Thompson (2005) provide an argument and rationale for using reptiles as the bio-indicator taxa. Below we describe the components necessary to calculate a RDI score for a particular site and describe how the RDI can be used to measure the success of a rehabilitation program. We used rehabilitated mine site waste dumps in the Ora Banda region of Western Australia (WA) to develop the index. Three broad quantifiable parameters are used in the RDI; diversity, taxonomic groups and ecological groups.

References:
Andersen, A.N., Hoffmann, B.D. and Somes, J. (2003) Ants as indicators of minesite restoration: community recovery
at one of eight rehabilitation sites in central Queensland. Ecological Management and Restoration 4 Supplement,
S12-19.
Armstrong, K.N. and Nichols, O.G. (2000) Long-term trends in avifaunal recolonisation of rehabilitated bauxite mines
in the jarrah forest of south-western Australia. Forest Ecology and Management 126, pp. 213-225.
Bisevac, L. and Majer, J.D. (1998) Invertebrates as success indicators for mine site rehabilitation. Fauna habitat
reconstruction after mining, 10-11 October 1997, Asher, C.J. and Bell, L.C. (eds), Australian Centre for Mining
Environmental Research, Melbourne.
Bisevac, L. and Majer, J.D. (1999) An evaluation of invertebrates for use as success indicators for minesite
rehabilitation. The other 99%: The conservation and biodiversity of invertebrates. Ponder, W.F. and Lunney, D.
(eds). Transactions of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. Sydney, pp. 46-49.
Bradford, D.F., Franson, S.E., Neale, A.C., Heggem, D.T., Miller, G.R. and Canterbury, G.E. (1998) Bird species
assemblages as indicators of biological integrity in Great Basin Rangeland. Environmental Monitoring and
Assessment 49, pp. 1-22.
Chase, M.K., Kristan, W.B., Lynam, A.J., Price, M.V. and Rotenberry, J.T. (2000) Single species as indicators of
species richness and composition in California coastal sage scrub birds and small mammals. Conservation
Biology 14(2), pp. 474-487.
Environmental Protection Authority (2006) Guidance for assessment of environmental factors: Rehabilitation of
terrestrial ecosystems, No 6. Environmental Protection Authority, Perth.
Fox, B.J. (1982) Fire and mammalian secondary succession in an Australian coastal heath. Ecology 63(5), pp. 1332-
1341.
Fox, B.J. and Fox, M.D. (1984) Small-mammal recolonisation of open-forest following sand mining. Australian Journal
of Ecology 9, pp. 241-252.
Fox, J.E.D. (1997) Fauna habitat reconstruction after mining. Fauna habitat reconstruction after mining, 10-11 October
1997, Asher, C.J. and Bell, L.C. (eds) Australian Centre for Mining Environmental Research, Adelaide, pp. 151-
160.
Gotelli, N.J. and Entsminger, G.L. (2001) Swap and fill algorithms in null model analysis: rethinking the knight's tour.
Oecologia 129, pp. 281-291.
Gotelli, N.J. and Graves, G.R. (1996) Null models in ecology. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
Halliger, M. (1993) Reptiles on regenerating mine sites in western New South Wales. Herpetology in Australia: a
diverse discipline, Lunney, D. and Ayers, D. (eds), Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, New South
Wales, pp. 327-332.
Jasper, D. (2001) Soil indicators and monitoring of rehabilitation, Centre for Land Rehabilitation, Perth.
Karr, J.R. (1981) Assessment of biotic integrity using fish communities. Fisheries 6, pp. 21-27.
Quantification of Rehabilitation Success on Mine Site Waste Dumps S.A. Thompson, G.G. Thompson
738 Mine Closure 2006, Perth, Australia
Karr, J.R., Fausch, F.D., Angermeiser, P.L., Yant, P.R. and Schlosser, I.J. (1986) Assessing biological integrity in
running waters: a method and its rationale. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication 5, Illinois.
Kempton, R.A. and Taylor, L.R. (1974) Log-series and log-normal parameters as diversity discriminants for the
Lepidoptera. Journal of Animal Ecology 43, pp. 381-399.
Magurran, A.E. (1988) Ecological diversity and its measurement., Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Majer, J.D. (2001) Invertebrates as indicators, Centre for Land Rehabilitation, Perth.
Majer, J.D. and Beeston, G. (1996) The biodiversity integrity index: an illustration using ants in Western Australia.
Conservation Biology 10(1), pp. 65-73.
Nakamura, A., Proctor, H. and Catterall, C.P. (2003) Using soil and litter arthropods to assess the state of rainforest
restoration. Ecological Management and Restoration 4 (Supplement), pp. S20-28.
Nichols, O.G. and Gardner, J.H. (1997) Long-term monitoring of fauna return in bauxite-mined areas of the Darling
Range, Proceedings of the workshop on fauna habitat reconstruction after mining, C.J. Asher, and L.C. Bell
(eds). Australian Centre for Mining Environmental Research, Adelaide, pp. 99-109.
O'Connell, T.J., Jackson, L.E. and Brooks, R.P. (1998) The bird community index: A tool for assessing biotic integrity
in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
O'Connell, T.J., Jackson, L.E. and Brooks, R.P. (2000) Bird guilds as indicators of ecological condition in the central
Appalachians. Ecological Applications 10(6), pp. 1706-1721.
Patrick, R. (1949) A proposed biological measure of stream conditions based on a survey of Conestoga Basin, Lancaster
County, Pennsylvania. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Science 101, pp. 277-295.
Perry, G. (1999) The evolution of search modes: ecological versus phylogenetic perspectives. American Naturalist
153(1), pp. 98-109.
Read, J.L. (1999) Birds, reptiles and ants as indicators of ecological impacts of mining and pastoralism at Olympic Dam
in the Australian arid zone. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of New England, Armidale, NSW.
Read, J.L. and Andersen, A.N. (2000) The value of ants as early warning bioindicators: responses to pulsed cattle
grazing at an Australian arid zone locality. Journal of Arid Environments 45, pp. 231-251.
Riley, S.J. (1995) Mine rehabilitation: can we know the future? A geomorphological perspective from Australia.
Physical Geography 16(5), pp. 402-418.
Rodda, G.H., Campbell, E.W. and Fritts, T.H. (2001) A high validity census technique for herpetofaunal assemblages.
Herpetological Review 32(1), pp. 24-30.
Stribbling, J.B., Jessup, B.K. and White, J.S. (1998) Development of a benthic index of biotic integrity for Maryland
streams. Annapolis. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Report No. CBWP-EA-98-3.
Thompson, G.G. and Thompson, S.A. (2005) Mammals or reptiles, as surveyed by pit-traps, as bio-indicators of
rehabilitation success for mine sites in the goldfields of Western Australia? Pacific Conservation Biology, 11,
pp. 268-286.
Thompson, G.G., Withers, P.C., Pianka, E.R. and Thompson, S.A. (2003) Assessing biodiversity with species
accumulation curves; inventories of small reptiles by pit-trapping in Western Australia. Austral Ecology 28, pp.
361-383.
Tongway, D. (2001) Assessing rehabilitation success: A training course to understand, assess and monitor the success
of mine rehabilitation using ecosystem function analysis indicators. CSIRO, Canberra.
Van Horne, B. (1983) Density as a misleading indicator of habitat quality. Journal of Wildlife Management 47(4), pp.
893-901.
Walker, K.J., Osborne, J.M. and Dunlop, N. (1986) Vertebrate colonisation after revegetation of a rehabilitated iron ore
waste dump, Newman, W.A. Environmental Workshop, 1986 Papers, Australian Mining Industry Council,
Launceston, pp. 113-150.
Wilson, B.A. and Friend, G.R. (1999) Responses of Australian mammals to disturbance: A review. Australian
Mammalogy 21, pp. 87-105.
Wolda, H. (1981) Similarity indices, sample size and diversity. Oecologia 50, pp. 296-302.




© Copyright 2021, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Please direct any queries or error reports to repository-acg@uwa.edu.au