Lyons, C-L, Picker, MD & Carrick, PJ 2008, 'Community Structure of Soil Invertebrates Under Differing Restoration Practices — Alluvial Diamond-Mined Sites in South Africa', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett, I Weiersbye & P Dye (eds), Mine Closure 2008: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 821-830, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/852_76
The use of invertebrates in assessing mining rehabilitation has long been a topic of discussion. The
feasibility and use of invertebrates as indicators of restoration success is a valuable tool enabling ecologists
to best restore a disturbed habitat as closely as possible to an undisturbed site of similar characteristics.
This paper investigated the use of invertebrate larvae and soil fauna as tools for evaluating restoration
success of alluvial diamond-mined sites in the Namaqualand region of South Africa. Two different sites,
approximately 150 km apart were chosen for study and comparison. Four different treatments, each with
four replicates was chosen at each of the sites. These were: old topsoil (> five years), young topsoil
(< 4 years), overburden (mined but never restored) and baseline/reference sites. Different restoration
techniques had been used at both the Northern and Western Cape sites and hence, the findings of this paper
enable us to draw conclusions as to the effectiveness of these various techniques. Invertebrates were
collected by two methods: emergence traps and sieving. Three emergence traps were placed at each
replicate site and two areas were chosen for sieving. At both sites, undisturbed/reference sites were found to
most closely approximate old topsoil sites (MDS plots) although the percentage similarity between these two
treatments was only 16.6% for the Northern Cape (NC) site and 17.8% for the Western Cape (WC) site.
A Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA detected a significant difference in number of species between the four different
treatments (df = 3, H = 8.676, p = 0.0339 for the Western Cape and df = 3, H = 11.567, p = 0.0090 for the
Northern Cape). At both the Northern and Western Cape sites, the average number of species was found to
be greatest at baseline/reference sites, followed by old topsoil, young topsoil and overburden sites (OB) in
that order. It seems likely that the most likely reason for invertebrate colonization may be soil parameters
and not vegetation cover as both regions seem to share similar vegetation cover. On preliminary
investigation, it seems also that many of the old topsoil sites (TPS) contain similar vegetation cover to the
reference sites. It appeared that the topsoil treatments used at the Western Cape site seem to approximate
more to the reference site than do those of the topsoil used at the Northern Cape site.
Bradshaw, A. (1997) Restoration of mined lands - using natural processes, Ecological Engineering, 8, pp. 255-269.
Carrick, P.J. and Kruger, R. (2007) Restoring degraded landscapes in lowland Namaqualand: Lessons from the mining
experience and from regional ecological dynamics, Journal of Arid Environments, 70, pp. 761-781.
Cowling, R. and Pierce, S. (1999) Namaqualand – a Succulent Desert, Martin (ed), Fernwood Press, p. 156.
Davis, A.L.V., Van Aarde, R.J., Scholtz, C.H. and Delport, J.H. (2003) Convergence between dung beetle assemblages
of a post-mining vegetational chronosequence and unmined dune forest, Restoration Ecology, 11, 1, pp. 29-42.
Gullan, P.J. and Cranston, P.S. (2004) The insects: An outline of entomology. 3rd Edition, Chapman and Hall (eds),
Community Structure of Soil Invertebrates Under Differing Restoration Practices — Alluvial C-L. Lyons et al.
Diamond-Mined Sites in South Africa
Lavelle, P. (1997) Faunal activities and soil processes: Adaptive strategies that determine ecosystem function, Advances
in Ecological Research, 27, pp. 93-130.
Le Roux, A. and Odendaal, F.J. (1992) Report on the study of natural recovery of overburden dumps on DBCM
properties in Namaqualand, Report for De Beers Namaqualand Mines, Kleinzee.
Loncore, T.R. (2003) Terrestrial arthropods as indicators of ecological restoration in coastal sage scrub (California,
USA), Restoration Ecology, 11, 4, pp. 397-409.
Longcore, T.R. (1999) Terrestrial arthropods as indicators in coastal sage scrub, PhD. Thesis, University of California,
Los Angeles, Chapter 4.
Lubke, R.A., Avis, A.M. and Moll, J.B. (1996) Post-mining rehabilitation of coastal sand dunes in Zululand, South
Africa, Landscape and Urban Planning, 34, pp. 335-345.
Majer, J.D. (1997) Invertebrates assist the restoration process: An Australian perspective, Restoration Ecology and
Sustainable Development, Urbanska, Webb and Edwards (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
Moir, M.L., Brennan, K.E.C., Koch, J.M., Majer, J.D. and Fletcher, M.J. (2005) Restoration of a forest ecosystem: The
effects of vegetation and dispersal capabilities on the reassembly of plant-dwelling arthropods, Forest Ecology
and Management, 217, pp. 294-306.
Nichols, O.G. and Nichols, F.M. (2003) Long-term trends in faunal recolonization after bauxite mining in the Jarrah
forest of south western Australia, Restoration Ecology, 11, 3, pp. 261-272.
Rokich, D.P., Dixon, K.W., Sivasithamparam, K. and Meney, K.A. (2000) Topsoil handling and storage effects on
woodland restoration in Western Australia, Restoration Ecology, 8, pp. 196-208.
Samways, M.J., Osborn, R. and Carliel, F. (1997) Effect of a highway on ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) species
composition and abundance, with special recommendation for roadsideverge width, Biodiversity Conservation,
6, pp. 903-13.
Samways, M.J. (2007) Insect Conservation: A synthetic management approach, Annual Review of Entomology, 52,
Schmidt, A. (2002) Strip-mine rehabilitation in Namaqualand, M.Sc. Thesis, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch.
Throne, J.E., Robbins, P.S. and Eckenrode, C.J. (1984) An improved screen-cone trap for monitoring activity of flying
insects, New York’s Food and Life Sciences Bulletin, 106.
Watters, G.T., Menker, T. and O’Dee, S.H. (2005) A comparison of terrestrial snail faunas between strip-mined land
and relatively undisturbed land in Ohio, USA – an evaluation of recovery potential and changing faunal
assemblages, Biological Conservation, 126, pp. 166-174.