Recovery of soil and soil biota on post mining sites along climatic gradient across continental USA

Jan Frouz1
1 Institute for environmental studies, Charles University

O 12.4 in Restoration and rehabilitation of ecosystems

17.07.2014, 12:00-12:20, H19

To answer the question, how the post mining soil recovery depends on climatic conditions soil and soil biota were studied at post-mining chronosequences along climatic gradient in the USA, covering hardwood forest (TN, IN), tallgrass prairie (IL), or shortgrass prairie (WY). Total carbon and nitrogen content increased with successional age, while total phosphorus was often greater in young post-mining sites than in climax sites. Microbial biomass in forest chronosequences increased with age, actinobacteria were associated with prairie sites, and fungi were associated with forest sites. Earthworms and other saprophages were absent in such shortgrass sites but were present in the wetter, eastern sites. Absence of saprophagous groups, and especially earthworms, resulted in the absence of bioturbation in shortgrass prairie sites while worm casts and other biogenic structures formed an important part of the soil profile in other chronosequences. Both young and old restoration sites were much closer to the climax condition in shortgrass prairie than in the other sites. The shortgrass prairie  soil community contained abundant root-feeding organisms, which may establish quicker than the more saprophagous soil biota that were abundant at the other sites. In chronosequences other than the one in shortgrass prairie , bioturbation played an important role in topsoil formation, which result to complex soil profile development compare to shortgrass prairie which may contribute to faster recovery communities in shortgrass prairie in comparison with tallgrass prairie and forest.

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last modified 2014-02-13