Tibbett, M 2008, 'Carbon Accumulation in Soils During Reforestation — The Australian Experience After Bauxite Mining', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett, I Weiersbye & P Dye (eds), Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 3-11, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/852_1
Soil is the primary store of terrestrial carbon, and is seriously disturbed by mining activities. Soil carbon
exists in various forms that are functionally different and have contrasting residence times as part of the soil
organic matter store. Here I explore the nature of soil carbon, from surface litter stocks to humified
fractions, as measured from various rehabilitated (reforested) bauxite mined land across Australia. Litter in
rehabilitated forests tends to accumulate to higher masses than in the surrounding native forests. This may
simply be a function of extra litterfall during forest regrowth and higher stem densities than in the natural
forests, or of lower decomposition rates. The higher litter stocks in restored forests are sometimes reflected
in a higher carbon concentration in the mineral soil. However, the type of carbon that accumulates in the
mineral soils after bauxite mining may be primarily of particulate organic form that is not stable in the long-
term and may readily mineralize to CO2. Further research is required to establish the stability of carbon in
the soils of rehabilitated forests and woodlands compared to their natural systems and the implication for
carbon accounting and climate change.
Amundson, R. (2001) The carbon budget in soil, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 29, pp. 535-562.
Arai, H., Tokuchi, N. and Keisuke Koba, K. (2007) Possible mechanisms leading to a delay in carbon stock recovery
after land use change, Soil Science Society of America Journal, 71, pp. 1636-1638.
Baldock, J.A. (2007) Composition and cycling of organic carbon in soil. Nutrient Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems,
Marschner, P. and Rengel, Z. (eds), Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.
Baldock, J.A. and Skjemstad, J.O. (1999) Soil organic carbon/soil organic matter. Soil analysis: An Interpretation
Manual, Peverill, K.I., Sparrow, L.A. and Reuter, D.J. (eds), CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, pp. 159-170.
Carbon Accumulation in Soils During Reforestation — The Australian Experience After Bauxite Mining M. Tibbett
Banning, N.C., Grant, C.D., Jones, D.L. and Murphy, D.V. (2008) Recovery of soil organic matter, organic matter
turnover and nitrogen cycling in a post-mining forest rehabilitation chronosequence, Soil Biologand
Biochemistry (in press).
Batjes, N.H. (1996) Total Carbon and Nitrogen in the Soils of the World, European Journal of Soil Science, 47,
Cambardella, C.A. and Elliott, E.T. (1992) Methods for physical separation and characterization of soil organic matter
fractions. Geoderma, 56, pp. 449-457.
Carter, D., Yellowlees, D. and Tibbett, M. (2007) Cadaver decomposition and belowground ecology,
Naturwissenschaften, 94, pp. 12-24.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001) Climate Change: The Scientific Basis, Cambridge University Press,
Jackson, R.B., Banner, J., Jobbagy, E., Pockman, W. and Wall, D. (2002) Ecosystem carbon loss with woody plant
invasion of grasslands, Nature, 418, pp. 623-626.
Jenkinson, D.S., Hart, P.B.S., Rayner, J.H. and Parry, L.C. (1987) INTECOL Bulletin 15, pp. 1-8.
Kelly, R. (2007) Carbon Accumulation in Rehabilitated Jarrah Forest Soils at Boddington Bauxite Mine Honours
Dissertation, University of Western Australia.
Kirschbaum, M.U.F., Carter, J.O., Grace, P.R., Keating, B.A., Keenan, R.J., Landsberg, J.J., McKeon, G.M., Moore,
A.D., Paul, K.I., Pepper, D.A., Probert, M.E., Richards, G.P., Sands, P.J. and Skjemstad, J.O. (2001) Brief
description of several models for simulating net ecosystem exchange in Australia, Net Ecosystem Exchange
Workshop Proceedings, Kirschbaum, M.U.F. and Mueller, R. (eds), Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. CRC
for Greenhouse Accounting, pp. 8-29.
Koch, J.M. (2007) Alcoas mining and restoration process in Western Australia. Restoration Ecology, 15, pp. S11-S16.
Koch, J.M., Ward, S.C., Grant, C.D. and Ainsworth, G.L. (1996) Effects of bauxite mine restoration operations on
topsoil seed reserves in the Jarrah forest of Western Australia. Restoration Ecology, 4, pp. 368-376.
Lal, R. (2004) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change, Geoderma, 123, pp. 1-22.
Lal, R. (2007) Carbon management in agricultural soils, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 12,
Lal, R., Follett, F., Stewart, B.A., Kimble, J.M. (2007) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change and
advance food security, Soil Science, 172, pp. 943-956.
Oades, J.M. (1984) Soil organic matter and structural stability: mechanisms and implications for management, Plant and
Soil, 76, pp. 319-337.
Oades, J.M. (1988) The retention of organic matter in soils, Biogeochemistry, 5, pp. 35-70.
Richter, D., Markewitz, D., Trumbore, S. and Wells, C. (1999) Rapid accumulation and turnover of soil carbon in a re-
establishing forest, Nature, 400, pp. 56-58.
Sawada, Y. (1996) Indices of microbial biomass and activity to assess mine site rehabilitation. Third International and
the 21st Annual Minerals Council of Australia Environmental Workshop, 1, Minerals Council of Australia,
Newcastle, Australia, pp. 223-236.
Sawada, Y. (1999) Microbial Indices for Assessing the Progress of Rehabilitation of Mined Land and Mine Residues,
Ph.D. Thesis, University of Western Australia.
Schlesinger, W.H. and Lichter, J. (2001) Limited carbon storage in soil and litter of experimental forest plots under
increased atmospheric CO2, Nature, 411, pp. 466-469.
Schwenke, G.D., Ayre, L., Mulligan, D.R. and Bell, L.C. (2000a) Soil stripping and replacement for the rehabilitation
of bauxite-mined land at Weipa. II. Soil organic matter dynamics in mine soil chronosequences, Australian
Journal of Soil Research, 38, pp. 371-393.
Schwenke, G.D., Mulligan, D.R. and Bell, L.C. (2000b) Soil stripping and replacement for the rehabilitation of bauxite-
mined land at Weipa. III. Simulated long-term organic matter development, Australian Journal of Soil Research,
38, pp. 395-410.
Spain, A.V., Isbell, R.F. and Probert, M.E. (1983) Organic matter contents of Australian soils. Soils: An Australian
Viewpoint, Division of Soils, CSIRO, Melbourne, pp. 551-563.
Spain, A.V., Hinz, D.A., Ludwig, J., Tibbett, M. and Tongway, D. (2006) Mine closure and ecosystem development:
Alcan Gove bauxite mine, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Mine
Closure, Fourie, A.B. and Tibbett, M. (eds), pp. 299-308.
Spain, A.V., Hinz, D., Ludwig, J., Tibbett, M. and Tongway, D. (2005) Ecosystem development after bauxite mining in
northern Australia: processes, patterns of development and the achievement of rehabilitation targets. Proceedings
of the 1st International forum on ecological reconstruction of Beijing, 26-27th October, 2005, pp. 164-169.
Stevenson, F.J. and Cole, A. (1999) Cycles of the Soil, John Wiley and Sons.
Tibbett, M., Spain, A.V., Edmonds-Tibbett, T.L., Hinz, D., Tongway, D. and Ludwig, J. (2002) Evolution of fine litter
mass and quality from land rehabilitated after bauxite mining in tropical Australia, Proceedings of Biogeomon
Conference, University of Reading.
Keynote and Plenary Sessions
Trumbore, S.E. and Torn, M.S. (2003) Soils and the global carbon cycle Soils and Global Change, Holland, E.A. (ed),
NATO Advanced Study Institute.
Ward, S.C. and Koch, J.M. (1996) Biomass and nutrient distribution in a 15.5 year old forest growing on rehabilitated
bauxite mine Australian Journal of Ecology, 21, pp. 309-315.
Waterworth, R.M. and Richards, G.P. (2008) Implementing Australian forest management practices into a full carbon
accounting model, Forest Ecology and Management, 255, pp. 2434-2443.