Importance of soil ecology in vegetation rehabilitation on a North Stradbroke Island sand mine

van Soest, Jessica, Lockhart, Craig, Smith, Jim, & Fuller, Susan (2011) Importance of soil ecology in vegetation rehabilitation on a North Stradbroke Island sand mine. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 117, pp. 391-404.


Sibelco Australia Limited (SAL), a mineral sand mining operation on North Stradbroke Island, undertakes progressive rehabilitation of mined areas. Initial investigations have found that some areas at SAL’s Yarraman Mine have failed to redevelop towards approved criteria. This study, undertaken in 2010, examined ground cover rehabilitation of different aged plots at the Yarraman Mine to determine if there was a relationship between key soil and vegetation attributes. Vegetation and soil data were collected from five plots rehabilitated in 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010, and one unmined plot. Cluster (PATN) analysis revealed that vegetation species composition, species richness and ground cover differed between plots. Principal component analysis (PCA) extracted ten soil attributes that were then correlated with vegetation data. The attributes extracted by PCA, in order of most common variance, were: water content, pH, terrolas depth, elevation, slope angle, leaf litter depth, total organic carbon, and counts of macrofauna, fungi and bacteria. All extracted attributes differed between plots, and all except bacteria correlated with at least one vegetation attribute. Water content and pH correlated most strongly with vegetation cover suggesting an increase in soil moisture and a reduction in pH are required in order to improve vegetation rehabilitation at Yarraman Mine. Further study is recommended to confirm these results using controlled experiments and to test potential solutions, such as organic amendments.

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ID Code: 49322
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sand Mine Rehabilitation, Soil Ecology, Chronosequence, Vegetation, Ground Cover, pH, Soil Moisture
ISSN: 0080-469X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS (050100) > Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified (050199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Rehabilitation (excl. Bioremediation) (050207)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Royal Society of Queensland
Deposited On: 26 Mar 2012 21:51
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2012 22:51

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