Monitoring the pollution effects from a gold tailing storage facility on adjacent land through Landscape Function Analysis


Degraded landscapes adjacent to gold tailing storage facilities (TSFs) typically suffer from loss of ecosystem function as a result of seepage pollution. Restoration of these areas has become a primary concern in the fields of environmental science and management within recent decades. To assess the extent of land degradation, detailed monitoring of pollution took place over a period of 4 years on farmland adjacent to a gold TSF in South Africa. The Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) monitoring procedure was developed by David Tongway for the Australian rangelands, and has been utilised in this investigation to assess the impact of seepage pollution on the soil within the aforementioned farmland area. This paper indicated that the LFA procedure could not accurately present landscape stability and ecosystem functionality at the seepage-polluted sites within the short monitoring period presented in this study. It was established that no adverse effects on the natural vegetation were apparent, other than encroachment by Seriphium plumosum, which affected the grazing quality of the area but contributed significantly to the LFA values.

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Modified from Tongway and Hindley (2004), Tongway and Ludwig (2011)

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This investigation was supported financially by Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme, National Research Fund, Mine Waste Solutions and AngloGold Ashanti (South Africa).

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Correspondence to Angelique Daniell.

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Daniell, A., Malo, D.S. & van Deventer, P.W. Monitoring the pollution effects from a gold tailing storage facility on adjacent land through Landscape Function Analysis. Environ Earth Sci 78, 82 (2019).

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  • Dysfunctional
  • Ecosystem function
  • Functional
  • Limitations
  • Seepage pollution