The tree legume Pongamia pinnata on coal mine spoil: an integrated and sustainable rehabilitation, bioenergy and carbon farming production system (2013–2016)
The restoration of lands disturbed by open cut mining is an integral part of a responsible mining industry. In Australia the practice of mine rehabilitation has to date involved the planting of Eucalyptus spp., Acacia spp. and native grasses to mimic undisturbed ecosystems. We propose to investigate the potential of the tree legume Pongamia pinnata as a mine rehabilitation species. Measures of growth performance and soil nutrient cycling will provide evidence for future plantings on coal mine overburden. In addition to its potential for mine rehabiliation, Pongamia is emerging as a crop for sustainable biofuel production. The long-term goal of this research is to establish a new production system for mine rehabilitation and agriculture.