Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Policy Forums
Degradation by coal mining should be priority in restoration planning
Edilane Rocha-Nicoleitea,b,, , Gerhard Ernst Overbecka,c, Sandra Cristina Müllera,d
a Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Graduate Program in Ecology, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
b Associação Beneficente da Indústria Carbonífera de Santa Catarina, Technological Centre, Criciúma, SC, Brazil
c Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Department of Botany, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
d Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Department of Ecology, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Received 17 October 2016, Accepted 30 May 2017

In the southern part of the Atlantic Forest region, in Santa Catarina, Brazil, coal mining has led to severe degradation, with former mining areas abandoned decades ago without any concern about environmental and social damage. Up to recently, little restoration activity had been developed, despite severe and ongoing environmental degradation that also causes risks to human health. We argue that these areas should be made restoration priority, and that the development of specific restoration actions and measures for sites like these are urgent. To achieve effective restoration planning we must overcome some challenges, such as prioritization of areas for restoration, establishment long-term monitoring, development of realistic goals, avoidance of the use of invasive grasses, and inclusion of human population and their needs into discussion of restoration goals and approached. We recognize that, due to pollution and contamination problems, cost for restoration is a massive challenge in the region, but even higher costs for population and environment are expected if sites would not be restored. Considering the environment and human health risks of areas degraded by coal mining, restoration efforts should be of high priority on all level of governance, and ways should be found to include this into the procedures for prioritization of restoration activities.

Tree planting, Riparian zones, Restoration challenges, Atlantic Forest, Southern of Santa Catarina