Investigation of poor vegetation establishment by comparison of two topsoils used in rehabilitation after sand mining

Vinod Nath (2011). Investigation of poor vegetation establishment by comparison of two topsoils used in rehabilitation after sand mining MPhil Thesis, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland.

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Author Vinod Nath
Thesis Title Investigation of poor vegetation establishment by comparison of two topsoils used in rehabilitation after sand mining
School, Centre or Institute Sustainable Minerals Institute
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-05
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Total pages 176
Total colour pages 28
Total black and white pages 148
Language eng
Subjects 05 Environmental Sciences
0503 Soil Sciences
050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
Abstract/Summary A study was undertaken to investigate causes for poor native vegetation establishment and erosion in rehabilitated sand dunes following sand mining at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. The problem was mainly associated with the use of topsoil from old rehabilitated sites from earlier mining (designated as pre-mined topsoil) as opposed to using topsoil from unmined native areas (designated as unmined topsoil). The study involved field comparison of the vegetation characteristics of the native and pre-mine sites followed by separate glass house trials to characterise the germinable soil seed banks from the respective sites, to compare the quality of the topsoils for native plant growth, and to test ameliorants to overcome soil water repellence. Four native species which included Acacia ulicifolia (Mimosaceae), Aotus lanigera (Fabaceae), Banksia integrifolia (Proteaceae) and Corymbia gummifera (Myrtaceae) and six treatments were used in the nutrient trial. Treatments included the omission of phosphorus (P) and lime from a standard fertilizer application and the addition of gypsum as alternate calcium (Ca) source to lime. Two species (Acacia ulicifolia and Corymbia gummifera) and five ameliorants including mine tailings (sand), clay mine waste (“slime”), two wetting agent and sugar cane mulch were used in the trial to overcome water repellency tested by plant emergence. Results of the soil seed bank showed that species richness was similar between native and pre-mine sites but plant density was greater at the pre-mined site. Plant densities of exotic species (weeds) were greater in the soil seed banks from the pre-mine sites. The chemical properties of the topsoils showed that the pre-mine soil was slightly more acidic associated with lower contents of exchangeable basic cations, and Ca:Al ratio (<1), indicating a possible impact of poor cation balance on vegetation growth. The nutrient trial showed a positive effect on plant growth to the addition of lime for the pre-mine soil. Calcium added as gypsum, on the other hand had no effect on plant biomass. Plant tissue analysis indicated that species varied in threshold P content and thus soil nutrient levels. Plant tissue P contents of < 0.4% was associated with good plant growth for A.ulicifolia and C.gummifera, whereas this value was much less (<0.1%) for B. integriflora. This study suggests that a standard fertilizer application for sowing mixed seed not only take account of the specific soil properties but the specific needs of vegetation to be established rather than a broad-scale approach. The results of the water repellency trial showed that the wetting and organic matter treatments produced the best emergence for the two species tested, with little difference between the two topsoils.
Keyword rehabilitation, pre-mine, native, vegetation, seed bank, species, treatments, nutrient, ameliorants
Additional Notes 1, 24, 26, 27, 46, 51, 53, 54, 59, 71, 72, 89, 90, 91, 106, 107, 114, 118, 122, 123, 124, 137, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 172. Landscape: 127, 131, 132, 133, 134, 166.

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Created: Mon, 23 Apr 2012, 15:00:24 EST by Mr Vinod Nath on behalf of Library - Information Access Service