New Mine Reclamation Research Investigates Biodiversity and Soil Health

Vancouver, BC – March 16, 2023 – Two new Masters theses investigating soil health and arthropod biodiversity following mine reclamation have been completed with support from Geoscience BC.

Two Masters of Environmental Science students, Ashley Fischer and Chantalle Gervan worked with Dr. Lauchlan Fraser of Thompson Rivers University to research factors that could support mine reclamation and restore a functional and structurally representative native habitat.

During mine construction topsoil is often set aside for later reclamation after mine closure. The first study focussed on sampling and analysing stockpiled topsoil at various depths from two interior British Columbia projects. Results demonstrated a link between depth and accumulation of metals and anaerobic activity; both of which can impact soil health for future revegetation, and showed the importance of interdependent ecological, geochemical, and biological processes, and the role of belowground processes in determining the success of restoration efforts.

The second study used DNA barcoding of arthropods (e.g. insects, spiders) as a new tool for assessing overall biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function following mine reclamation, which, in the past, often relied on vegetation health. This study also looked to reduce the knowledge gap of arthropod recovery in a post-mining reclaimed area and demonstrate efficient DNA methodologies for arthropod monitoring.

Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals, Christa Pellett said: "With successful mine site reclamation a critical commitment made by mining operations, these studies exploring soil health and biodiversity expand the ongoing innovation in the science of reclamation.”

Accessing information

To view the research, visit the project page or view the information on Geoscience BC's Earth Science Viewer online mapping application.

View soil amendment project page          View soil amendment project in Earth Science Viewer

View biodiversity in ecosystem reclamation project page          View biodiversity in ecosystem reclamation project in Earth Science Viewer

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Truman

Geoscience BC

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