Mine land rehabilitation in Brazil: goals and techniques in the context of legal requirements.
Environmental legislation in many countries demands the rehabilitation of degraded areas to minimize environmental impacts. Brazilian laws require the restitution of self-sustaining ecosystems to historical conditions but ignore the emergence of novel ecosystems due to large-scale changes, such as species invasions, extinctions, and land-use or climate changes, although these novel ecosystems might fulfill ecosystem services in similar ways as historic ecosystems. Thorough discussions of rehabilitation goals, target ecosystems, applied methods, and approaches to achieving mine land rehabilitation, as well as dialogues about the advantages and risks of chemical inputs or non-native, non-invasive species that include all political, economic, social, and academic stakeholders are necessary to achieve biological feasibility, sociocultural acceptance, economic viability, and institutional tractability during environmental rehabilitation. Scientific knowledge of natural and rehabilitating ecosystems is indispensable for advancing these discussions and achieving more sustainable mining. Both mining companies and public institutions are responsible for obtaining this knowledge.