Renaturation

Creating and Protecting Habitat

Flora and Fauna

On about 15 percent of our total postmining area we are developing new species specific habitats for nature conservation purposes. Animal species that feel threatened in cultural landscapes influenced by humans, find shelter here. In past years there was a focus to integrate single biotopes and now there are large interconnected areas that will be reserved for nature in future.

Numerous species have found a habitat on the postmining landscape. Not only brown hares, also kingfisher, partridge and quail use the recultivated dump areas as a retreat. Also migratory species such as the wolf use the land that is still in development as a refuge.

Renaturation in Mining

The term 'renaturation' is used to describe the process of restoring areas to a state resembling nature. Therefore, for example former industrial sites, agricultural lands or water bodies which have been straightened have a potential as an area of renaturation.
In the field of mining we understand renaturation as a process for those areas in postmining landscape on which biotopes and species protection have priority over other types of land utilization such as forestry or agriculture. However, renaturation areas do not always lie in mine dump areas. They can also be compensatory measures in an area close to the opencast mine. 

New Land for Old Species

Special equipment is used to help nature along, square meter by square meter to regain the land.    Deposited heathland soil and spreading of seed-rich cuttings help indigenous and endangered species to grow on the dump soils an example is cheddar pinks. Open lands created in this way provide areas of refuge for many rare birds.

In the renaturation of flowing waterways, parts of the original water beds are often restored, old watercourses are reactivated and typical riverine vegetation reestablished.

Increasing the structural diversity of a river by incorporating groyns, outlets and islands are examples of renaturation measures as well as reintroducing original plant and animal species.