Reclaiming land

Land restoration
Soil enrichment
Land redevelopment
Recovering land
Reclaiming wasteland

Restoring the productivity of land that has become unusable as a result of human activity, such as mining, building hydro-engineering complexes, poor farming techniques, clearing forests or building cities.

There is another, more specific, use of the term reclaiming land, meaning "reclaiming" land from underwater by systems of drainage, levees, pumping and/or raising the ground level with dumped material (such as building rubble or dredge spoil) or soil carted from other locations. Another term for this process on a large scale, as practised in the Netherlands for example, is empolderment. Because land "reclaimed" in this way often begins in a natural swampy state, e.g. coastal mangrove or marshland, or a lake or seabed, it is debatable whether this activity is reclamation or wetland destruction. Certainly it is not restoration in the prime sense implied by this strategy.


Initially, mining and forestry corporations ignored land restoration which required public demonstrations, petitions, and mass publicity to coerce them into action. In many nations this was followed-up by formal regulations forcing companies to return land to near original conditions. Advanced planning of restoration during the mining and logging processes now reduces time and costs considerably.


Land restoration can neutralize the adverse side effects of industrial activity or resource extraction.

Counter Claim:

Land restoration programmes can be used by governments or corporations to justify unnecessary development projects.


Constrained by:
Preserving land
Blighted land use
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal