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BAAM establishing benchmark conditions for post-mined heath rehabilitation sites

BAAM ecological consultancy was recently commissioned by Sibelco to undertake an annual post-mined rehabilitation monitoring on North Stradbroke Island. The monitoring was undertaken previously in 2012 by BAAM to compare and assess the suitability of reference sites to its corresponding rehabilitation sites. This year’s survey specifically aimed at setting a set of performance criteria in order to ensure that rehabilitation will progress towards the intended vegetation type.

Whilst every effort may be made towards establishing appropriate benchmark scores, the complexities involved in heath ecosystem restoration make it extremely difficult to give definitive designation of Regional Ecosystem (RE) and structural composition to the rehabilitation areas. Indeed, open heath ecosystems could potentially progress to mallee or banksia woodland if climatic disturbances and disadvantages associated with the landscape position (strong wind, lower moisture and lower fertility) and fire regimes are reduced and/or less frequent.

The benchmark scores derived from this year’s monitoring program offer Sibelco an appropriate target condition for heath ecosystem rehabilitation sites. Additionally, more replication of sites per RE and landscape position will provide more robust data with which to make informed rehabilitation objectives and guide rehabilitation sites to intended vegetation type.

For more information contact BAAM’s ecological consultants at: www.baamecology.com