Rehabilitate Soil Exposed by Infrastructure Projects
Infrastructure projects, should be rehabilitated immediately. Otherwise, the area will be more prone to erosion. Excessive amounts of dust could be a problem, too.
However, restoring such sites to their original condition can be quite a challenge. As you may know, it took native grasslands thousands of years to develop and reach an extensive coverage. Therefore, it is essentially impossible to ensure their complete reproduction in just a very short time. But don’t be disheartened. There are steps you can take to start rehabilitating areas affected by Australian infrastructure projects.
Instead of using introduced grass to cover soil exposed by major land infrastructure projects, it’s best to sow native grasses because they will growin poor conditions and are much easier to maintain. They are considerably cheaper, too. When choosing a seeding mix, it should include rapid establishing grasses such as Windmill grass (Chloris truncata) and Wheat grass (Elymus scaber), as well as slower establishing species such as Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra) and Wallaby grass (Rytidosperma spp.) for many areas of Australia.
If the site is highly prone to erosion, or if you need to see fast results, a cover crop of a cereal like Ryecorn or Japanese Millet can be sown at 20kg/ha along with native grass mix. They will die off within a few months, but their root system will help hold the soil together and protect the emerging native grass seedlings. ou just need to make sure that the cover crop does not drop seeds on to the ground.
Weed control is also important during the initial stages of the rehabilitation process. Weeds need to be controlled. Otherwise, they could smother the emerging native grass seedlings and steal valuable nutrients from them.
Need help rehabilitating areas affected by infrastructure projects? Contact us at Native Seeds anytime. We can provide you with quality seeding mixes that can help revegetate exposed soil.
The Use of Native Grass in Mine Rehabilitation
The Importance of Indigenous Grasses for Mining Revegetation Programs
Looking to buy wholesale native grasses? Call us on 1300 473 337 or 03 9555 1722 today!
Mine rehabilitation is not easy, but it is doable. Mining, or any other type of disruptive earthwork, always leaves damages on the area where it was done. Thus, it has sparked a need to rejuvenate the said area with the appropriate variety of plant species. However, the people’s intention of knowing the species of the plants only aim to finalise their vegetation, instead of considering the ecological processes and progressive stages that occur on the site upon plant colonisation. People often forget that forests don’t simply grow in a day. It takes a lot of development and meticulous growth for it to flourish.
The adoption of sound ecological restoration practices should be one of the main priorities. To be able to do so, one must follow a chronological process that would offer a variety of benefits to the area of rehabilitation. The initial step to mine site rehabilitation should involve the colonisers, or the primary successor species of plants that will primarily cover the land. They should be prepared for the next species that will stimulate the soil condition for the final or climax species of plant life. Starting with the climax species will not build a proper and healthy vegetation community for the area.
It is not ideal to start the rehabilitation using tree species for a variety of reasons. Trees do not cover majority of the ground, which will only expose it to soil erosions. Also, the first few years of rehabilitation will only result in losses, if trees are the initial plants to be placed. There will be no small insects and micro-fauna that could successfully support the trees, which will only result in the premature death of the forest.
The preliminary step in mine rehabilitation should focus on the ground. By zeroing in on this aspect of the forest, it could actually help control soil erosion and stabilising the site. It will also prepare the soil for the next species of plants. The primary revegetation species’ best candidate is the grass. This is due to its ease of growth, competitiveness over majority of weeds, promotion of soil health, excellence at providing soil stability, and growth over a broad range of soil type. Native grasses have more beneficial outcomes and they actually promote the activity of local microbes and micro-flora.
For better tolerance for local environmental changes, it is much more feasible to sow native grass on the site. Indigenous plants have greatly shown their resilience against local bacteria and fungi, which helps reinstate the previous conditions of the mine and aid in the development of higher successor of plant species.
Using native or indigenous grasses should be the initial step towards the revegetation of mining sites. If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to contact us.
Restoring natural native beauty to our land
Land that has been degraded by many, often external, factors such as salinity, overgrazing, drought and fire will need rehabilitation to return it to a more productive condition. Whether that final condition relates to greater biodiversity, or high perenniality, or more grazing animals per unit area is not the issue here, it is about restoring an environment to something like its original balanced and resilient condition.
In our experience it is not just a matter of doing one thing alone such as changing the grazing regime or adding seed or removing weeds, but is a combination of several of these factors, all applied in a systematic and planned manner. Planning, or thinking about likely future problems and having a course of action in mind, is vital to success in restoration efforts.
For example, if soil salinity is the major issue for rehabilitation, just closing the gate to prevent grazing is not going to restore soil health or plant vigour. What is needed is a plan to do a number of things, which may include fencing off the worst affected areas, sowing the appropriate types of native grass seeds and planting suitable trees up the slope. It may involve other factors such as control of the worst weeds and incorporation of mulch into the soil through heavy or crash grazing, but what is clear to us is that full rehabilitation of degraded sites is not something that is going to be achieved by just one or two actions accompanied by a lot of hope and trust.
Having said all that, it is important to choose the correct species of grass for revegetation of degraded sites. We emphasise the importance of starting with a grass cover for revegetation as the grasses are the group of plants most capable of providing a full soil cover within a short period of time. This is important as the period after exposure of the soil is the time when soil losses through erosion are at their most devastating and a cover of grass will hold the soil together better than any other plant group. While the final vegetation community may be a forest, the interim step of having a grass coveris a vital step in providing soil cover and microflora build-up which are so necessary for the ultimate success of the forest.
So how do you choose what species to sow?
Rehabilitation of land that has been adversely affected can be a slow and frustrating process. After all why do we think it should take us only 6 months to rehabilitate something that had taken thousands of years to establish in the first place? Our impatience and need for rapid results often makes for inappropriate actions in order to tick off the box called completion.
We are not suggesting that nothing should be done, or that it is all impossible, just that when establishing benchmarks for success of the rehabilitation project an assessment of success or failure at 6 months after sowing is not appropriate. It is possible to establish a benchmark for 6 months after sowing that might reflect progress towards an ultimate goal, but it is not the final product at that time. A view that exceeds 1 year is important, and more realistically a view of around 2 to 3 years is needed. Only at that time can success or failure be truly evaluated.