Tropek, R. et al.
The view of post-mining sites is rapidly changing among ecologists and conservationists, as sensitive restoration using spontaneous succession may turn such sites into biodiversity refuges in human-exploited regions. However, technical reclamation, consisting of covering the sites by topsoil, sowing fast-growing herb mixtures and planting trees, is still commonly adopted. Until now, no multi-taxa study has compared technically reclaimed sites and sites left with spontaneous succession. Our results show that the high conservation potential of limestone quarries could be realized by allowing succession to progress spontaneously with minimal intervention. Given the threat to semi-natural sparsely vegetated habitats in many regions, active restoration measures at post-mining sites should be limited to maintenance of early successional stages, instead of acceleration of succession.
Journal of Applied Ecology