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, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 321-333, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/852_30
The application of ecosystem function analysis (EFA) in Australia has, at times, been considered a
controversial process as it evolved from an earlier application, landscape function analysis (LFA), which
was used to assess the sustainability of rangeland environments. EFA was developed by CSIRO as a
monitoring tool for wider application. Its potential for application in other environments was soon realized
and it has proven to be a valuable tool in the assessment and measurement of the functional processes in
mine rehabilitation. In the mining industry, it involves assessment of four components namely landscape
function analysis, vegetation, erosion, and habitat complexity, using simple, scientifically-validated
indicators. EFA involves monitoring a range of parameters which relate to the biophysical functioning of the
landscape and provides a relatively simple, cost-effective, repeatable system to scientists and managers as to
how rehabilitation programmes are developing and performing over time.
EFA has the potential to play a critical role in a balanced environmental monitoring strategy in any mining
or landform rehabilitation programme. EFA can fill the gap between superficial monitoring programmes,
that cover large areas, primarily targeted at identifying changes or trends in the environment, such as
remote sensing and aerial photography as well as intensive ground-based monitoring programmes such as
fauna and flora surveys.
This paper discusses the role that EFA can play in providing information that links the development of
vegetation, soils and nutrients with ecosystems and enables rapid detection of any requirement for
intervention or implementation of more detailed or focused studies. Moreover it develops the role EFA can
play in a balanced and integrated toolbox of monitoring techniques which are efficient, cost effective and
provide the necessary data to enable managers to make informed decisions on their rehabilitation
programmes. The paper also discusses the present application of EFA/LFA monitoring techniques in
Australia, and other parts of the world and how these techniques are used in different regimes to complete
rehabilitation and closure.
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