Soil moisture dynamics and restoration of self-sustaining native vegetation ecosystem on an open-cut coal mine

Ngugi, Michael R., Neldner ,Victor J., Doley, David, Kusy, Brano, Moore, Darren and Richter, Christian (2015) Soil moisture dynamics and restoration of self-sustaining native vegetation ecosystem on an open-cut coal mine. Restoration Ecology, 23 5: 615-624. doi:10.1111/rec.12221

Author Ngugi, Michael R.
Neldner ,Victor J.
Doley, David
Kusy, Brano
Moore, Darren
Richter, Christian
Title Soil moisture dynamics and restoration of self-sustaining native vegetation ecosystem on an open-cut coal mine
Journal name Restoration Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1526-100X
Publication date 2015-05-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/rec.12221
Volume 23
Issue 5
Start page 615
End page 624
Total pages 10
Place of publication Malden, MA United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Post-mining landscape reconstruction on open-cut coal mines aims to support restoration of self-sustaining native vegetation ecosystems that in perpetuity require no extra inputs relative to unmined analogs. Little is known about the soil moisture retention capacity of the limited layer of topsoil replaced (often <30 cm deep), impacts of deep ripping of the profile, and the combined impacts of these on plant available water during the mine restoration process. We examined changes in soil moisture parameters (soil water potential, Ψ, and soil water content, Θ) daily using automated soil sensors installed at 30 and 45–65 cm depths on mine restoration sites aged between 3 and 22 years and on adjacent remnant vegetation sites following heavy rainfall events at Meandu mine, southeast Queensland, Australia. Consistent patterns in soil moisture attributes were observed among rehabilitated sites with generally marked differences from remnant sites. Remnant site soil profiles had generally higher Θ after drying than rehabilitated sites and maintained high Ψ for extended periods after rain events. There was a relatively rapid decline of Ψ on reconstructed soil profiles compared with remnant sites although the times of decline onset varied. This response indicated that vegetation restoration sites released soil moisture more rapidly than remnant sites but the rate of drying decreased with increasing rehabilitation age and increased with increasing tree stem density. The rapid drying of mine rehabilitated sites may threaten the survival of some remnant forest species, limit tree growth, and delay restoration of self-sustaining native ecosystem.
Keyword Macropore drainage
Mine rehabilitation
Mine revegetation
Novel ecosystems
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Early view of article. Published online 7 May 2015.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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