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IJESD 2013 Vol.4(2): 196-201 ISSN: 2010-0264
DOI: 10.7763/IJESD.2013.V4.334

Integrated Evaluation of Ecological Sustainability of a Mining Area in the Western Region of China

Yufen Hao, Yunxia Wu, Sumei Zhang, and Lihong Chen

Abstract—The ecological environment is extremely fragile in the western region of China, where the largest coal mining company in China is located. After mining, subsidence and massive loss of water resources occur in many areas. Plant mortality caused by lack of water, has made the fragile ecological environment deteriorate much more rapidly after 1986. Therefore, an investigation of eco-environmental sustainability in the mining area is imperative. Based on Remote Sensing (RS) and GIS, two typical mines were selected as study areas. Four types of spatial information (desertification, land use structure, water and soil erosion, and vegetation) for the ecological environment were extracted from remote sensing imagery for 5 periods (August 2, 1986, August 29, 1990, July 26, 1995, July 31, 2000, and July 24, 2006). The spatial information was used to construct an evaluation index system. Based on a grid of environmental data, the environmental index was used to develop and design an integrated evaluation model for evaluating sustainability of the ecological environment in the mining area. Four classes of ecological sustainability were identified by the model. The analyses identified variability in the environmental sustainability. The changes in loess areas were much greater than in sandy areas because subsidence in loess areas was more serious than that in sandy areas. Because most cropland occurs in loess areas, and the ecological environment of loess regions is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to desertification, negative effects of mining are a serious concern. Therefore, evaluation of the environmental sensitivity and sustainability of the mining area is indispensable. The results of this evaluation corresponded quite well with the actual environmental conditions, demonstrating that this model is scientifically sound and objective. Application of this model to other mines and mining regions within China can be used to evaluate potential impacts in environmentally sensitive areas.

Index Terms—Coal mine, integrated evaluation model, remote sensing/GIS, subsidence, erosion.

Yufen Hao is with the Hebei University, Baoding, 071002, Hebei, China (e-mail: haohao5002@yahoo.com.cn).
Yunxia Wu, Sumei Zhang, and Lihong Cheng are with the Shijiazhuang University of Economy, Shijiazhuang ,050031,Hebei,China (e-mail: wuyunxia2006@163.com, smzhang2004@163.com, chenlh0202@126. com).


Cite:Yufen Hao, Yunxia Wu, Sumei Zhang, and Lihong Chen, "Integrated Evaluation of Ecological Sustainability of a Mining Area in the Western Region of China," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 196-201, 2013.

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-0264 (Print)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Environ. Sci. Dev.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJESD
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Richard Haynes
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Indexing: Scopus (since 2019), Google ScholarCrossref, ProQuest, EBSCO, etc. 
  • E-mail: ijesd@ejournal.net