The impact of underground longwall mining on prime agricultural land: a review and research agenda

Lechner, Alex Mark, Baumgartl, Thomas, Matthew, Phil and Glenn, Vanessa (2014) The impact of underground longwall mining on prime agricultural land: a review and research agenda. Land Degradation & Development, 27 6: 1650-1663. doi:10.1002/ldr.2303

Author Lechner, Alex Mark
Baumgartl, Thomas
Matthew, Phil
Glenn, Vanessa
Title The impact of underground longwall mining on prime agricultural land: a review and research agenda
Journal name Land Degradation & Development   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1099-145X
Publication date 2014-08-20
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/ldr.2303
Open Access Status
Volume 27
Issue 6
Start page 1650
End page 1663
Total pages 14
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Coal mining and agriculture have repeatedly come into conflict when they co-occur. Although seemingly benign when compared with surface mining, underground coal extraction techniques (including longwall mining) cause subsidence of agricultural land and loss of productivity. Despite growing concerns for global food security and increasing demand for coal resources, there is little peer-reviewed literature on the impacts of longwall mining in prime agricultural areas. In this paper, we examined the present knowledge of subsidence impacts of longwall mining on agriculture and how this may be interpreted for specific locations such as Australia. The review found that subsidence affects soil properties, hydrology and topography. The main impacts on agriculture are altered soil and groundwater hydrology, modified topography associated with increased erosion or waterlogging risk, and zones of compaction or cracking that cause soil physical and chemical changes. Agricultural productivity is also reduced through altering the types of farming practices that are suited to subsided non-uniform landscapes, decreasing farming efficiency through increasing paddock heterogeneity and decreasing ease of workability. There is a need to consider these multiple impacts under local conditions, with particular regard to the interaction of mine subsidence-associated disturbances with farming practices. We conclude by describing future research directions required for Australia and other countries outside of the USA—where most of the research has been conducted. Australia has unique soil and climatic conditions making extrapolation of studies from the USA on subsidence impacts and mitigation problematic.
Keyword Agriculture
Crop productivity
Longwall mining
Coal mining
Food security
Impact mitigation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 20 AUG 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2015 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 21 Oct 2014, 10:24:38 EST by Dr Alex Lechner on behalf of Centre For Mined Land Rehabilitation