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Review – Agricultural recultivation in the Rhenish lignite mining area

Fig. 1. Dumbeck, G. (2023): Agricultural recultivation in the Rhenish lignite mining area. Source: GDMB

Dumbeck, G. (2023): Agricultural recultivation in the Rhenish lignite mining area. 1st edition. 391 pages, 104 tables, 161 figures and 18 tables. GDMB Gesellschaft der Metallurgen und Bergleute e. V., Clausthal-Zellerfeld/Germany (Figure 1).

Lignite mining in the Rhenish mining area represents a serious intervention in the cultural landscape of this region. While the sites were initially mainly used for forestry and the recultivation of agricultural land played only a subordinate role, the picture changed at the beginning of the 1960s. Since then, lignite mining has increasingly concentrated on areas characterised by high-quality soils, so that the resettlement issue of farms and thus the quality of recultivation measures became of outstanding importance, because farmers expected appropriate compensation for the land they had abandoned. As a result of the experience gained in melioration and the increasing knowledge of soil science and yield-relevant correlations, a fundamental change in recultivation practice took place.

The present work by Gerhard Dumbeck offers an interesting and comprehensive overview of the development of recultivation measures for agricultural land in the Rhenish lignite mining area. The author does not confine himself to the experience he has gained in three decades of recultivation practice at RWE Power AG, which operates lignite mining, but also includes findings from decades further back.

In addition to describing the development of process technologies for the recultivation of agricultural land and basic soil science, he also takes a look at accompanying scientific studies as well as official and internal regulations and guidelines. This overview is supplemented by a description of concrete measures in individual areas. Particularly noteworthy at this point is the chapter on monitoring for quality control.

The work is supplemented by numerous illustrations, tables and maps as well as an extensive bibliography. The literature has been compiled alphabetically according to the usual citation guidelines, providing a good overview of the scope and making it easier to find even unusual titles.

The book does not appeal to readers outside the field, but is a work for all experts fundamentally concerned with the subject. The quality standard of the author, who has profound practical experience in the field of reclamation, is clearly evident. In the spirit of creating transparency and understanding for the manifold questions that arise in view of the complexity of the subject of recultivation in general and that of agricultural land in particular, the work is recommended to interested persons for reading and use.

Dipl.-Ing. Andreas-Peter Sitte, Chief Editor Mining Report Glückauf, Moers