TitleMicrobial activity in reclaimed and unreclaimed post-mining sites near Sokolov (Czech Republic)
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHelingerova, M, Frouz, J
KeywordsBasal respiration, Cellulose decomposition, Forest reclamation, MICROBIAL BIOMASS, Open-cast coal mining, Primary succession, Soil formation

Microbial activity reflects soil conditions and degree of development. The aim of this study was to compare microbial properties of reclaimed and unreclaimed post-mining soil. Microbial biomass, microbial respiration, and cellulose decomposition were quantified in two chronosequences of post-mining sites located in the Sokolov brown-coal mining area. The first chronosequence consisted of five sites reclaimed with an alder plantation (Alnus glutinosa. Alnus incana), and the other consisted of five unreclaimed sites naturally colonized by local vegetation (especially Salix caprea, Betula pendula and Populus tremula). The spoil material of all the studied sites consisted of tertiary clays without any topsoil cover Microbial respiration per unit of soil mass as well as per unit of soil area decreased as site age increased Microbial biomass, whether expressed as a function of soil mass or area, increased with site age in both reclaimed and unreclaimed sites. When expressed per m(2), proportion of deeper soil layers (5-10 cm) on overall microbial biomass in 0-10 cm layer increased with site age. This increase was more pronounced in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites Cellulose decomposition was highest in 8-year-old sites in the reclaimed chronosequence and in 17-21-year-old sites in the unreclaimed chronosequence. The cellulose decomposition rate was higher in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites. In reclaimed sites, the decomposition rate depended on air temperature, while in unreclaimed sites other factors, such as moisture deficiency, seemed to drive decomposition rate in some locations Overall, microbial activity increased faster in reclaimed than in unreclaimed sites, and this difference was most evident in younger sites. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved