land reclamation

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land reclamation
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{{hatnote|This article is about land reclaimed from ocean, riverbeds, or lake beds. For land reclaimed from the desert, see Dedesertification. For the disposal of waste material, see landfill.}}{{Redirect|Reclaimed||Reclaim (disambiguation){{!}}Reclaim}}(File:Perth1964.jpg|thumb|Reclaiming in Perth, Australia 1964)Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, and also known as land fill (not to be confused with a landfill), is the process of creating new land from oceans, riverbeds, or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or land fill.In a number of other jurisdictions, including parts of the United States,WEB,weblink American Society for Mining and Reclamation, 2012-04-01, the term "reclamation" can refer to returning disturbed lands to an improved state. In Alberta, Canada, for example, reclamation is defined by the provincial government as "The process of reconverting disturbed land to its former or other productive uses."WEB, Powter, Chris, Glossary of Reclamation and Remediation Terms used in Alberta, Government of Alberta, 2002,weblink 0-7785-2156-7, 2012-04-01, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-04-09, In Oceania it is frequently referred to as land rehabilitation.


Land reclamation can be achieved with a number of different methods. The most simple method involves filling the area with large amounts of heavy rock and/or cement, then filling with clay and dirt until the desired height is reached. The process is called "infilling"BOOK, Lambi, Cornelius Mbifung, 2001, Environmental issues: problems and prospects, Bamenda, Cameroon, Unique Printers, 152, 978-9956-11-005-6, and the material used to fill the space is generally called "infill".WEB, Wisconsin Supplement Engineering Field Handbook Chapter 16: Streambank and Shoreline Protection, United States Department of Agriculture, 16–WI–36,weblink WEB, Regional Road Maintenance ESA Program, Part 2: Best Management Practices, Washington State Department of Transportation, 2.42,weblink 2014-05-02,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-06-11, dead, Draining of submerged wetlands is often used to reclaim land for agricultural use. Deep cement mixing is used typically in situations in which the material displaced by either dredging or draining may be contaminated and hence needs to be contained. Land dredging is also another method of land reclamation. It is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of a body of water. It is commonly used for maintaining reclaimed land masses as sedimentation, a natural process, fills channels and harbors naturally.WEB,weblink What is dredging?, Administration, US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric,, EN-US, 2018-03-19,


File:East Coast Park Panorama, Mar 06.jpg|thumb|East Coast Park in Singapore was built on reclaimed land with a man-made beachbeachFile:Satellite image of Flevopolder, Netherlands (5.48E 52.43N).png|thumb|The Flevopolder in the Netherlands, reclaimed from the IJsselmeer, is the largest reclaimed artificial islandartificial islandFile:View from Nokia Beirut.jpg|thumb|Land Reclamation in the Beirut Central DistrictBeirut Central District File:Fontvieille harbour.JPG|thumb|The whole district of Fontvieille, MonacoMonacoInstances where the creation of new land was for the need of human activities.Notable examples include:





One of the earliest large scale projects was the Beemster Polder in the Netherlands, realized in 1612 adding {{convert|70|km2}} of land. In Hong Kong the Praya Reclamation Scheme added {{convert|50|to|60|acre|ha|order=flip}} of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever taken during the Colonial Hong Kong era.Bard, Solomon. [2002] (2002). Voices from the Past: Hong Kong 1842–1918. HK University press. {{ISBN|962-209-574-7}} Some 20% of land in the Tokyo Bay area has been reclaimed,WEB, Petry, Anne K., Geography of Japan, Japan Digest, Indiana University, July 2003,weblink 2009-07-30, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-09-28, most notably Odaiba artificial island. Le Portier, Monaco and Gibraltar are also expanding due to land reclamation. The city of Rio de Janeiro was largely built on reclaimed land, as was Wellington, New Zealand.Artificial islands are an example of land reclamation. Creating an artificial island is an expensive and risky undertaking. It is often considered in places with high population density and a scarcity of flat land. Kansai International Airport (in Osaka) and Hong Kong International Airport are examples where this process was deemed necessary. The Palm Islands, The World and hotel Burj al-Arab off Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are other examples of artificial islands (although there is yet no real "scarcity of land" in Dubai), as well as the Flevopolder in the Netherlands which is the largest artificial island in the world.


File:Bingzhou Peninsula area - land reclamation - DSCF9204.JPG|thumb|Land reclamation in progress in Bingzhou (丙州) Peninsula (formerly, island) of the Dongzui Bay (东咀港). Tong'an District, XiamenXiamenAgriculture was a drive for land reclamation before industrialisation.WEB, Daniel R., Curtis, Into the frontier: medieval land reclamation and the creation of new societies. Comparing Holland and the Po Valley, 800–1500,weblink, In South China, farmers reclaimed paddy fields by enclosing an area with a stone wall on the sea shore near a river mouth or river delta. The species of rice that grow on these grounds are more salt tolerant. Another use of such enclosed land is the creation of fish ponds. It is commonly seen on the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong. These reclaimed areas also attract species of migrating birds.A related practice is the draining of swampy or seasonally submerged wetlands to convert them to farmland. While this does not create new land exactly, it allows commercially productive use of land that would otherwise be restricted to wildlife habitat. It is also an important method of mosquito control.Even in the post-industrial age, there have been land reclamation projects intended for increasing available agricultural land. For example, the village of Ogata in Akita, Japan, was established on land reclaimed from Lake Hachirōgata (Japan's second largest lake at the time) starting in 1957. By 1977, the amount of land reclaimed totalled {{convert|172.03|km2}}.WEB,weblink The History of Ogata-Mura | Ogata-mura,, 2014-04-17, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2015-09-24,

Beach restoration

Beach rebuilding is the process of repairing beaches using materials such as sand or mud from inland. This can be used to build up beaches suffering from beach starvation or erosion from longshore drift. It stops the movement of the original beach material through longshore drift and retains a natural look to the beach. Although it is not a long-lasting solution, it is cheap compared to other types of coastal defences. An example of this is the city of Mumbai.


As human overcrowding of developed areas intensified during the 20th century, it has become important to develop land re-use strategies for completed landfills. Some of the most common usages are for parks, golf courses and other sports fields. Increasingly, however, office buildings and industrial uses are made on a completed landfill. In these latter uses, methane capture is customarily carried out to minimize explosive hazard within the building.An example of a Class A office building constructed over a landfill is the Dakin Building at Sierra Point, Brisbane, California. The underlying fill was deposited from 1965 to 1985, mostly consisting of construction debris from San Francisco and some municipal wastes. Aerial photographs prior to 1965 show this area to be (wikt:tideland|tideland)s of the San Francisco Bay. A clay cap was constructed over the debris prior to building approval.Paul B. Awosika and Marc Papineau, Phase One Environmental Site Assessment, 7000 Marina Boulevard, Brisbane, California, prepared for Argentum International by Certified. Engineering & Testing Company, Boston, Massachusetts, July 15, 1993A notable example is Sydney Olympic Park, the primary venue for the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, which was built atop an industrial wasteland that included landfills.Another strategy for landfill is the incineration of landfill trash at high temperature via the plasma-arc gasification process, which is currently used at two facilities in Japan, and will be used at a planned facility in St. Lucie County, Florida.NEWS,weblink USA Today, Florida county plans to vaporize landfill trash, 2006-09-09, 2010-05-07,

Environmental impact

File:bay area fill.jpg|thumb|Parts (highlighted in brown) of the San Francisco BaySan Francisco BayDraining wetlands for ploughing, for example, is a form of habitat destruction. In some parts of the world, new reclamation projects are restricted or no longer allowed, due to environmental protection laws. Reclamation projects have strong negative impacts on coastal populations, although some species can take advantage of the newly created area.JOURNAL, Borzée, Amaël, Kim, Kyungmin, Heo, Kyongman, Jablonski, Piotr G., Jang, Yikweon, Impact of land reclamation and agricultural water regime on the distribution and conservation status of the endangered Dryophytes suweonensis, PeerJ, 4 October 2017, 5, e3872, 10.7717/peerj.3872,weblink 5631092,

Environmental legislation

(File:Hong Kong reclamation.png|thumb|A map of reclaimed land in Hong Kong: Grey (built), red (proposed or under development). Many of the urban areas of Hong Kong are on reclaimed land.)The State of California created a state commission, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, in 1965 to protect San Francisco Bay and regulate development near its shores. The commission was created in response to growing concern over the shrinking size of the bay.Hong Kong legislators passed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance, proposed by the Society for Protection of the Harbour, in 1997 in an effort to safeguard the increasingly threatened Victoria Harbour against encroaching land development.NEWS, Wallis, Keith, Bill seeks to protect harbour, February 12, 1996, The Standard (Hong Kong), Hong Kong Standard,weblink 2007-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 4, 2011, Several large reclamation schemes at Green Island, West Kowloon, and Kowloon Bay were subsequently shelved, and others reduced in size.


Reclaimed land is highly susceptible to soil liquefaction during earthquakes,WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-04-06, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-07-23, which can amplify the amount of damage that occurs to buildings and infrastructure. Subsidence is another issue, both from soil compaction on filled land, and also when wetlands are enclosed by levees and drained to create Polders. Drained marshes will eventually sink below the surrounding water level, increasing the danger from flooding.

Land amounts added

  • Bangladesh – about {{convert|110|km2}} in total and has {{convert|12,000|km2}} potential (8% of total area) up to {{convert|12|m}} depth in the territorial sea area.WEB,weblink "Bangladesh fights for survival against climate change," by William Wheeler and Anna-Katarina Gravgaard, The Washington Times,, 3 July 2010,
  • Netherlands – (Main article: Land reclamation in the Netherlands)

about 1/6 (almost 17%) of the entire country, or about {{convert|7,000|km2}} in total, has been reclaimed from the sea, lakes, marshes and swamps. The province of Flevoland has almost completely been reclaimed from the Zuiderzee.
  • South Korea – As of 2006, 38 percent or {{convert|1,550|km2}} of coastal wetlands reclaimed, including {{convert|400|km2}} at Saemangeum. Songdo International Business district, the largest private development in history, is a large-scale reclamation project built entirely on tidal mudflats.
  • Singapore – 20 percent of the original size or {{convert|135|km2}}. {{asof|2003}}, plans for {{convert|99|km2}} more are to go ahead,WEB, Singapore Finds it Hard to Expand Without Sand, Planet Ark,weblink 2007-03-23, despite the fact that disputes persist with Malaysia over Singapore's extensive land reclamation works.WEB,weblink Singapore, 1 September 2010, The World Factbook, CIA, section Transnational issues, 1 October 2010, disputes persist with Malaysia over […] extensive land reclamation works, Parts of Singapore Airport are also on reclaimed land.
  • Hong Kong – (Main article: Land reclamation in Hong Kong)

Praya Reclamation Scheme began in the late 1860s and consisted of two stages totaling {{convert|50|to|60|acre|ha|order=flip}}. Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong International Airport, and its predecessor, Kai Tak Airport, were all built on reclaimed land. In addition, much reclamation has taken place in prime locations on the waterfront on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This has raised environmental issues of the protection of the harbour which was once the source of prosperity of Hong Kong, traffic congestion in the Central district,NEWS, Courts protect our imperiled waterway – at least for the time being, August 14, 2006, The Standard (Hong Kong), Hong Kong Standard,weblink 2007-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink October 19, 2012, as well as the collusion of the Hong Kong Government with the real estate developers in the territory.NEWS, DeGolyer, Michael, Commentary: Just Looking for Answers, Hong Kong Standard, March 15, 2007,weblink 2007-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 4, 2011, NEWS, Ng, Michael, Lawmaker warns of West Kowloon arts venue glut, October 5, 2006, Hong Kong Standard,weblink 2007-03-23, dead,weblink" title="">weblink June 4, 2011, In addition, as the city expands, new towns in different decades were mostly built on reclaimed land, such as Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Shatin-Ma On Shan, West Kowloon, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O.
!Country!Reclaimed land (km2)!Note
China}}|13,500+ km2|Land reclamation in China
Netherlands}}|7,000 km2|Flevoland, de Beemster, AfsluitdijkLand reclamation in the Netherlands
South Korea}}|1,550 km2|
United States}}|1,000+ km2Artificial islands of the United States)
Japan}}|500+ km2|
UAE}}|470 km2Land reclamation in the United Arab Emirates>Land reclamation in the UAE
Bahrain}}|410 km2|
Singapore}}|135 km2|Land reclamation in Singapore
Bangladesh}}|110 km2|
Qatar}}|35 km2|
Macau}}|17 km2|
Philippines}}| 9.26 km2South Road Properties>Cebu South Road Properties Central Business District and Manila Bay Reclamation
Sri Lanka}}| 2.33 km2Colombo International Financial City{{Site web>url=
Maldives}}|0.62 km2WEBSITE=WWW.DREDGEMAG.COM, 2017-12-13,
Monaco}}|0.41 km2|Land reclamation in Monaco

See also




  • NEWS, Land-grabbing titans who changed HK's profit for good, Jason, Wordie,weblink The Standard (Hong Kong), The Standard, Hong Kong, 18 April 1999, 1 October 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink May 22, 2011,
  • {{Citation |first1 = J. |last1 = MacKinnon |first2 = Y.I. |last2 = Verkuil |first3 = N.J. |last3 = Murray |year = 2012 |title = IUCN situation analysis on East and Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow Sea (including the Bohai Sea) |series = Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 47 |page = 70 |publisher = IUCN |place = Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK |isbn = 9782831712550 |url =weblink |archive-url =weblink" title="">weblink |url-status = dead |archive-date = 2014-06-24 }}
  • {{Citation |last1 = Murray |first1 = N.J. |last2 = Clemens |first2 = R.S. |last3 = Phinn |first3 = S.R. |last4 = Possingham |first4 = H.P. |last5 = Fuller |first5 = R.A. |year = 2014 |title = Tracking the rapid loss of tidal wetlands in the Yellow Sea|journal = Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment |volume = 12 |issue = 5 |pages = 267–272 |url =weblink |doi = 10.1890/130260 }}
  • weblink

External links

{{commons category|Land reclamation}} {{land use}}

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