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Soil Biochemical Properties After Six Years in Amended Brown and Gray Mine Soils in West Virginia : Volume 2, Issue 1 (23/06/2015)

By Thomas, C.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004022348
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 25
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Soil Biochemical Properties After Six Years in Amended Brown and Gray Mine Soils in West Virginia : Volume 2, Issue 1 (23/06/2015)  
Author: Thomas, C.
Volume: Vol. 2, Issue 1
Language: English
Subject: Science, Soil, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Thomas, C., Sexstone, A., & Skousen, J. (2015). Soil Biochemical Properties After Six Years in Amended Brown and Gray Mine Soils in West Virginia : Volume 2, Issue 1 (23/06/2015). Retrieved from

Description: USGS, Forest and Rangeland Ecological Research Center, Boise, ID 83706, USA. Surface coal mining in the eastern USA disturbs hundreds of hectares of land every year and removes valuable and ecologically diverse eastern deciduous forests. Reclamation involves restoring the landscape to approximate original contour, replacing the topsoil, and revegetating the site with trees and herbaceous species to a designated post-mining land use. Re-establishing an ecosystem of ecological and economic value as well as restoring soil quality on disturbed sites are the goals of land reclamation, and microbial properties of mine soils can be indicators of restoration success. Reforestation plots were constructed in 2007 using weathered brown sandstone or unweathered gray sandstone as topsoil substitutes to evaluate tree growth and soil properties at Arch Coal's Birch River Mine in West Virginia, USA. All plots were planted with 12 hardwood tree species and subplots were hydroseeded with an herbaceous seed mix and fertilizer. After six years, average tree volume index was nearly ten times greater for trees grown in brown (3853 cm3) compared to gray mine soils (407 cm3). Average pH of brown mine soils increased from 4.7 to 5.0, while gray mine soils declined from 7.9 to 7.0. Hydroseeding doubled tree volume index and ground cover on both mine soils. Hydroseeding doubled microbial biomass carbon (MBC) on brown mine soils (8.7 vs. 17.5 mg kg−1), but showed no effect on gray (13.3 vs. 12.8 mg kg−1). Hydroseeding also increased the ratio of MBC to soil organic C in both soils and more than tripled the ratio for potentially mineralizable nitrogen (PMN) to total N. Brown mine soils were a better growth medium than gray mine soils and hydroseeding was an important component of reclamation due to improved biochemical properties and microbial activity in mine soils.

Soil biochemical properties after six years in amended brown and gray mine soils in West Virginia

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