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: email@example.com).
Yunxia Wu, Sumei Zhang, and Lihong Cheng are with the Shijiazhuang University of Economy, Shijiazhuang ,050031,Hebei,China (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.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.