Restoration of plant and animal communities in a sanitary landfill: A 10-year case study in Hong Kong

Tsz Fung James WONG, Xun Wen CHEN, Wing Yin MO, Yu Bon MAN, Wang Wai Charles NG, Ming Hung WONG

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This study was conducted in the South East New Territories landfill in Hong Kong, with the objectives to (i) investigate the plant and animal communities' establishment and performance within 10 years after restoration and (ii) provide important information on pioneer plants species selection recommendations for restoring sanitary landfills. The studying sites were re-vegetated in 2003, with 14 pioneer plant species, including Acacia auriculiformis, A. confusa and Schefflera heptaphylla, planted. In total, four permanent quadrats (10 m × 10 m) were used for monitoring at three restored sites (sites E, N and S) and the control site C. The soil properties and plant and animal communities inside plots were investigated annually in summer and winter between 2003 and 2014. The similarity of plant and animal communities between the restored and control sites was compared using Jaccard's index. Ten years after restoration, animal and plant communities were gradually established at all sites. No animal was introduced into the restored sites in 2003; however, there were 29, 31 and 44 animal species recorded at sites E, N and S, respectively, between 2003 and 2012. Within the studying period, 38 plant species (trees: 52·63%, shrub: 21·05%, herbs: 23·68% and climber: 2·63%) were recorded in all sites and 17 (36·84%) of them were self-seeding. Exotic species, such as those from the family Acacia and Mimosaceae, were dominant at all restored sites, which implies that exotic species are more competitive and suitable to be used as pioneer species in sanitary landfill restoration. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-499
JournalLand Degradation & Development
Issue number3
Early online dateMay 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016



Wong, J. T.-F., Chen, X.-W., Mo, W.-Y., Man, Y.-B., Ng, C. W.-W., & Wong, M.-H. (2016). Restoration of plant and animal communities in a sanitary landfill: A 10-year case study in Hong Kong. Land Degradation & Development, 27(3), 490-499.


  • Sanitary landfill
  • Restoration
  • Soil properties
  • Plant and animal communities
  • Pioneer species