TitleAccumulation of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus during soil formation on alder spoil heaps after brown-coal mining, near Sokolov (Czech Republic)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsSourkova, M, Frouz, J, Santruckova, H

The accumulation of carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) and their vertical distribution in the soil profile in relation to site age were studied in a chronosequence of 19 sites on reclaimed spoil heaps from open-cast coal mining, near Sokolov (Czech Republic) and compared to a semi-natural alder forest in the vicinity of the mining area. The reclaimed sites were located on tertiary clay or quaternary gravel-sand spoil material and afforested with alder species (Alnus glutinosa, A. incana) 4-65 years ago. Rapid accumulation of C and N in the soil profile was registered within 15 years after reclamation. The rate of increase in C and N contents in the whole profile and the thickness of the litter and fermentation layers was slower in 25-year-old and older reclaimed sites. The soil of the semi-natural alder forest was richer in C and N in the 5-10-cm layer compared with 40-year-old (clays) and even with 65-year-old (gravel-sand) reclaimed soils. N accumulated more slowly in comparison with C, especially in deeper (5-10 cm) parts of the profile. Accumulation of organic C resulted in a decrease in substrate pH from alkaline, which was characteristic of young sites, to slightly acidic on older sites. The pH decreased gradually with increasing site age in all soil layers but increased with depth in the soil profile. In contrast to C and N, P content did not significantly change with site age in any layer of the soil profile. The highest amount of P was found in the fermentation layer, but there was no difference to the other layers. The soil profile of the semi-natural sites was richer in P in comparison to 40-year-old reclaimed ones. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.