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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Bioremediation and Biodegradation

Simulation of Birch and Pine Litter Influence on Early Stage of Reclaimed Soil Formation Process under Controlled Conditions


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 44 No. 4, p. 1091-1098
    Received: July 28, 2014
    Accepted: Mar 22, 2015
    Published: April 24, 2015

    * Corresponding author(s): bwos@ar.krakow.pl
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  1. Bartłomiej Woś * and
  2. Marcin Pietrzykowski
  1. Dep. of Forest Ecology and Reclamation, Institute of Ecology and Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry, University of Agriculture in Krakow, Al. 29 Listopada 46, 31-425 Krakow, Poland


The impact of litter decomposition on chemical substrate properties and element leaching during early soil formation in afforested post-mine sites and the influence of different tree species are key issues in new ecosystem development. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and common birch (Betula pendula Roth) are important pioneering species used in afforestation of post-mine sites in central and eastern Europe. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of litter decomposition of these species on the chemical properties of mine soil substrates. The impact of litter decomposition on soil properties was tested on quaternary and neogene substrates with different textures (sands, loams, and mixtures of clays and sands) in a controlled incubation experiment using PVC columns. Simulation of precipitation and leaching was undertaken for 10 wk at a temperature of 16°C with distilled water (200 mL wk−1) through cylinders with litter, substrate + litter, and control substrate (no litter). Filtrated water solution was collected once a week for laboratory analysis, and the concentrations of dissolved organic C, total N, K, Ca, Mg, and P were determined. The study results indicate a stronger impact of the common birch on the chemical properties of reclaimed mine soils compared with pine. After the experiment, birch litter caused significant changes in pH in quaternary sands, concentration of P in quaternary loams (Ql) and mixtures of neogene clays and quaternary sands (QsNc), exchangeable Ca in QsNc, and Mg in Ql and QsNc compared with pine litter. Birch, in comparison to pine, may affect the intensity of early-stage soil-forming processes by increasing nutrient availability and transport into the soil profile, which may affect the development of soil microbial communities. This process results in different soil properties under the two tree species.

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