On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.5 Johannesburg May. 2011
Revegetation of sand mines in the Seringveld Conservancy
A. van den Berg; J.M. Meeuwis; H.J. Annegarn
Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, South Africa
Mining of sand in South Africa is rapidly growing to sustain an increasing demand for sand for building purposes. Although mining of sand is regulated by environmental legislation, such as the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 19981, previous bad mining practices have left areas of land degraded and vulnerable to erosion. This study was conducted in the Seringveld Conservancy, where mining of sand has left the landscape with a degraded and unsightly appearance, and where little rehabilitation of the original vegetation has taken place.
The aim of the study was to develop rehabilitation techniques for the degraded mined soils on two sand mines, Boekenhout Sand and Krokodil Sand, and to develop an overall strategy of revegetation by regenerating key plant species. Techniques for regenerating indigenous tree species cover, using modified mined sludge if topsoil is not available, were used to develop a practical and cost-effective strategy to be used in revegetation. A comparative trial was used to cultivate indigenous tree species in different soil mixtures.
The study is important as it provides new information on the rehabilitation and revegetation of sand mined areas in the Seringveld Conservancy. This study will determine if alternatives could be used to replace topsoil on mined areas where none is available. The study is needed to determine whether revegetation of the mined areas would be possible using indigenous plant species that are difficult to grow.
The overall results indicate that replacing topsoil was successful for various modified soil mixtures that could sustain the growth of indigenous vegetation on the sand mines. Different indigenous tree species require different modified soil mixtures for successful propagation. A revegetation strategy was developed to complement and enable the rehabilitation of the mined areas in the Seringveld Conservancy.
Keywords: Rehabilitation, revegetation, Seringveld, sand mines, Burkea africana, topsoil, germination trials
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