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The FIB was set up in 1992 on the recommendation of the German Council of Science and Humanities, primarily to address specific environmental problems caused by lignite mining in the regions of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Its aim is the design and sustainable development of ecologically stable and diversified post-mining landscapes. The mission of the FIB is to formulate the necessary scientific principles, concepts and solutions by means of predominantly application-oriented research.

Apart from the tips, spoil heaps, residual holes and pit lakes left behind by mining, the clean-up, rehabilitation and reclamation work on post-mining landscapes also encompasses the impact on the hinterland as well as ecosystems and applications affected by the drop in, and subsequent return of, groundwater.
The work of the FIB focuses on analysis, typification, potential assessment, design, reclamation and renaturation of mining sites. The reconstruction of soil and its functions plays an essential role here, as does the development of materials and methods used in soil improvement. Studies are conducted on the condition and development of agricultural, forest and conservation ecosystems with a view to making recommendations on methods of management, treatment and tending.
Emphasis is also placed on research into the amount and quality of emerging groundwater, the geochemical, hydrochemical and biochemical processes in spoil heaps, and the application of findings to water body restoration, management and conservation in mining areas. The research findings constitute a basis for the practice of mining and remediation companies. They also underpin recommendations made for the occupants of such areas (farming and forest enterprises), authorities and associations.

A further focus is the transfer and adaptation of the methods and concepts developed to other landscapes disturbed by, for example, industry, karst formation or desertification, both at home and abroad. This requires the organisation of networks from science, industry, administration and politics.

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