Second-hand nature

Former quarry filled with water, trees on the lakeside
Photo: M. Pupp

In ecology, “second-hand habitat” means the generation of natural habitats for nature conservation or the renaturation of former habitats that were influenced by man.

Mining is always a temporary intervention in nature. The areas required for mining activities are just borrowed from nature and returned to it at the end of use. In Austria, the recultivation or renaturation of former, abandoned mining installations is a statutory requirement. In the case of pure recultivation, the original state is restored. In the case of renaturation, new habitats are specifically created for often endangered animal or plant species to increase biodiversity. The objective of second-hand nature is to generate area for living deliberately.

In Austria, mainly abandoned gravel or sand pits are used as “second-hand” habitats.