Research Support Facilities

The Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation has a range of in-house facilities to support research and postgraduate teaching. This includes:

  • Soil and water laboratory
  • Ecology laboratory
  • Sample preparation laboratory
  • Geohydrology laboratory
  • Herbarium
  • Mine site-compliant vehicle fleet
  • Field research equipment

CMLR staff and students also have access to a range of analytical and microscopy services and glasshouse facilities within The University of Queensland, St Lucia campus.

For more information about the CMLR laboratories and facilities, please email

CMLR's Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Determining the Extent of Erosion using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technologies, CMLR can determine the extent of erosion and vegetative cover across an entire site, or selected problematic areas.

Outcomes include:
• Collection of RPA imagery with >80% overlap provides enough information for the generation of digital surface models (DSM). These DSM’s can be utilised by rehabilitation managers to measure landform metrics such as slope, elevation and problem areas such as erosion gullies.
• A thematic vegetation coverage map may also be produced to provide spatial distribution of tree, shrub and grass cover and identify areas which are failing or developing well.

Monitoring in this manner is designed to inform management decisions in order to achieve rehabilitation outcomes that are safe, stable, self-sustaining and suited to target closure criteria in the most efficient manner possible.

CMLR Online Herbarium

The online herbarium has been developed with Silver Biology and CMLR, initially enabled as a component of an industry grant. Many projects at CMLR require simple to advanced plant identifications as a fundamental step in researching the rehabilitation of disturbed land and the effects of mining. And a number of locations where we work have limited identification resources available. The aim of the CMLR Herbarium is primarily for plant identification by staff,students  and the general public by providing query-based filtering of specimens and dynamic high-resolution images, see below, as an alternative or complement to traditional forms of plant identification.

The type of specimens aim to be comprehensive site collections for long-term projects, representative collections for some mine sites in NSW and QLD and research-appropriate collection of plant specimens through other regions. A concurrent aim is to provide a demonstration of a low-cost, virtual herbarium highlighting advanced features and capabilities compatible with Australian and global herbarium online initiatives.

Since the inception of CMLR, many researchers have collected specimens across many mine sites in Queensland and NSW and validated many of these with botanists at the Queensland Herbarium and National Herbarium of New South Wales. But without digitisation, the specimens have been kept in the naphthalene-infused boxes and folders, with little chance of seeing the light. With significant advances in the technology of rapidly accessing high-resolution imagery combined with an image database, we’ve been able to digitise our specimen collection with relative ease. Specimen processing and digitisation was undertaken by CMLR staff, summer students and volunteers.

Go to the CMLR Online Herbarium


Peter Erskine


Features of the online herbarium

  • For each specimen in the collection, you can view:
    • label information including plant family, genus and species
    • location on Google Maps
    • research-quality specimen image
  • Specimen data can be viewed and exported to csv or kml files
  • Images can be viewed interactively to high resolution using same ‘tiling’ technology of Google Earth

Additional resources

DIG Bibliographic Database

Managing a Coal Mine Rehabilitation Database: Dig

The Dig bibliographic database was developed to provide industry, government, researchers and other interested parties with reference information relevant to the rehabilitation of land after coal mining.  The database is an online source of annotated reference material including bibliographies of reports, books, journal articles and conference proceedings.

The major benefits of the Dig bibliographic database include:

  • ready access to accumulated past and present reference information;
  • a reduction in the loss of knowledge in the face of high staff turnover rates;
  • the avoidance of costly repetition of past research work or previously trialled rehabilitation approaches and procedures; and
  • the provision of a mechanism to effectively identify genuine gaps in the knowledge base.

Research Focus and Aims

The original aim of the development of the database was to produce a single source of references so that the large body of information on all aspects of coal-mine rehabilitation which has accumulated over several decades can be used for future reference.  In order to enable ongoing use and to maximise the benefit from efforts already invested in their establishment, continual up-dating, maintenance and improvements are necessary.  The overall objective of this ACARP funded program is to maintain a current, state-of-the-art research tool for the benefit of coal producers, environmental staff, government and researchers, and to provide the opportunity to use existing rehabilitation information to the best advantage of the Australian Coal Industry.