Authors: Keefer, ME; Kennedy, AD; Moody, R; Gibeau, P


DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_04_Keefer

Cite As:
Keefer, ME, Kennedy, AD, Moody, R & Gibeau, P 2011, 'Comparative inventory of vegetation and soils surrounding Teck Coal Ltd.’s coal mountain operations – 2010', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 27-36, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_04_Keefer

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Abstract:
This is the second year of a comparative study examining soil and plant characteristics between mine sites that had not actively been reclaimed and early seral natural sites that had experienced some type of disturbance. Results from this study describe native plant species and communities potentially suitable for establishment on ecologically comparable mine sites, and long-term experiments will test their applications in mine reclamation. Thirty-four field plots were established in 2010, 14 of which were located on areas that had experienced some form of mining activity, and 20 on selected natural areas. A total of 239 plant species were recorded in 2010 field work, including 92 new species not seen in 2009. The total number of plant species recorded from 2009 and 2010 field work is 256, including 222 native species, 11 introduced species, 13 invasive species and eight agronomic species. This study has identified 88 species with high potential for use in reclamation, based on occurrence in reference plots, native versus non-native, and ease of seed collection and propagation. Native plant species were observed on a wide range of elevations, slopes and aspects, and mean biomass production ranged between 560–1,360 kg/ha. Soil sampling revealed a mean of 8.4 kg/ha N in non-reclaimed mine sites, and 13.8 kg/ha N on natural reference sites, which were closer than expected for the two site types. No relationships were found between either pH, EC or coarse fragment content and total cover, species distribution or species richness, confirming null hypotheses. Recommendations include the establishment of long-term trials that will investigate native plant installation techniques, native plant successional plantings, fungal inoculation, fertilisation, and specific seed collection efforts and or seed increase projects to facilitate these trials.

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