Hinz, C, Gwenzi, W, McGrath, G, Veneklaas, E & Scanlan, C 2009, 'Soil-vegetation feedbacks as a driver for early ecosystems development in the context of mine site rehabilitation', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2009: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 431-438, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/908_32
Highly disturbed ecosystems may undergo rapid changes due to the interaction between vegetation and soil
that play a pivotal role for the water balance. This is particular true for water-limited ecosystems for which
water availability determines biomass. Based on a review of how vegetation growth affects soil hydraulic
properties, the authors propose a simple conceptual model that captures the feedbacks between soil water
storage in soil and soil hydraulic behaviour and vegetation biomass. The feedbacks that were considered are
(i) vegetation biomass and soil water storage, (ii) root growth and infiltration capacity, (iii) vegetation
biomass and bare soil evaporation, and (iv) root growth and soil water drainage. In water-limited
environments, these feedbacks are responsible for highly organised vegetation patterns in space and may
also lead to oscillating behaviour of soil water storage and vegetation biomass in time. Biomass
overshooting as a result of initially high soil water content is predicted, which is consistent with observations
made in forested catchments after clearing or during revegetation of mine tailings. Implications of these
feedbacks for predicting the early development of rehabilitated sites will be discussed.
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Soil-vegetation feedbacks as a driver for early ecosystems development in the context C. Hinz et al.
of mine site rehabilitation
438 Mine Closure 2009, Perth, Australia
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