A review of fauna in mine rehabilitation in Australia: Current state and future directions

  • Published source details Cristescu R.H., Frère C. & Banks P.B. (2012) A review of fauna in mine rehabilitation in Australia: Current state and future directions. Biological Conservation, 149, 60-72.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore former mining or energy production sites

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Restore former mining sites

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Restore former mining or energy production sites

    A review of studies investigating the success of habitat restoration following cessation of mining activities in Australia (Cristescu et al. 2012) found that reptile species richness and densities tended to be lower in restored compared to undisturbed areas, and a range of other responses were measured in three studies or less. Restored sites tended to be worse than undisturbed sites when measuring reptile density (lower in restored compared to undisturbed sites in 6 of 9 studies) and species richness (lower in 11 of 12 studies). Evenness (worse in 1 of 1 studies), community composition (worse in 2 of 2 studies), diversity (lower in 1 of 2 studies), body size or condition (similar in 3 of 3 studies), behaviour change (differences found in 1 of 1 studies) and biomass (higher in 1 of 1 study) were also assessed in 1–3 studies each. One study also reported breeding in a restored site. Fourteen studies that measured 33 outcomes for reptiles were included in the review. Restored sites included in the review were formerly bauxite, sand, uranium, coal, gold, manganese or iron mines.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Restore former mining sites

    A review of rehabilitated mine sites in Australia (Cristescu et al. 2012) found that 62% of 13 studies indicated that rehabilitated areas had lower densities and/or species richness of mammals compared to in unmined areas. Seven of 11 studies found that rehabilitated areas had lower mammal species richness than unmined areas, while the other four found rehabilitated and unmined areas had equal or higher mammal species richness. Only two of eight studies found that rehabilitated areas had equal or higher mammal densities compared to unmined areas. Data for individual studies were not reported. Methods combining the use of fresh topsoil with planting seeds and seedlings were most successful for animal recolonization. Studies investigating faunal recolonization of rehabilitated mines in Australia were obtained from the literature, of which 13 of 71 monitored mammals. Studies often compared plots in rehabilitated areas (1–30 plots/study) with plots in unmined areas (1–22/study). Rehabilitated sites were up to 20 years old.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust