Reclamation of lands disturbed by mining in its current configuration in BC is a relatively new and relatively complex undertaking, involving attempts to return ecosystem traits and functions on large landscapes over long time scales. This is happening within a context of rapidly shifting physical conditions—like changing climate—and societal expectations. And there are numerous technical challenges, including two key issues:
- BC regulations around mine reclamation require that land capability for specified land uses be restored to levels found prior to mining, but understanding how to measure this capability and demonstrate its return is difficult.
- A key driver of mine environmental performance involves water—its movement through and interactions with the mine landscape. Thus, an important consideration in reclamation is how reclaimed landscapes moderate water cycles.
Justin is a soil scientist and forest ecologist, and a founder of the Integral Ecology Group in Duncan, British Columbia. He has over 20 years of experience in applied terrestrial ecology, with a primary focus on identifying and repairing the effects of human activities on terrestrial ecosystems. Justin has worked extensively on mine-reclamation research, design, assessment, and review projects, with experience in hard-rock, soft-rock, and oil-sands surface mines throughout Canada. His reclamation work over the last decade has concentrated on ecological (soils and vegetation) aspects of cover design, on developing improved methods for estimating hydrological regimes on reclamation sites, and on understanding the ecohydrological interactions of soils/vegetation reclamation treatments with larger hydrological cycles in mine-waste landforms.