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Mining activities have caused severe damage to the ecosystem and left large amounts of mine dumps to be restored. Technical reclamation (TR), spontaneous revegetation (SR) and near-natural restoration (NNR) were the main approaches applied in the ecological restoration of mining dumps, however, the effectiveness of these methods on improving soil and promoting vegetation succession was not well understood. To address this, we compared the soil properties and plant communities of technically reclaimed, spontaneously revegetated and near-natural restored mine dumps located on the Loess Plateau, China. Soil backfilling and tillage were performed both in TR and NNR, while cultivation of various plants and management were only included in the technical approaches. Field investigation, soil sampling, and chemical analysis were undertaken, while plant species, diversity, biomass, soil moisture, bulk density, heavy metal content, as well as organic carbon etc. were determined to assess plant communities and soil properties. Results showed that the near-natural restored dump had the highest plant diversity, followed by spontaneously revegetated and technically reclaimed sites, although the biomass, average height, and coverage in the dump via TR ranked first. As for soil properties, the soil fertility in the near-natural restored dumps increased significantly and recorded the lowest heavy metal content compared to the other two sites. The various diversities, coverages, biomass, and differences in plant community composition among the three dumps were caused by the alteration in soil properties. Therefore, NNR could be an effective way to improve soil properties and rehabilitate plant communities without impairing plant diversity.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration