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Initial soil formation in an agriculturally reclaimed open-cast mining area - the role of management and loess parent material

Pihlap, Evelin; Vuko, Miljenka; Lucas, Maik; Steffens, Markus; Schloter, Michael; Vetterlein, Doris; Endenich, Manuel and Kögel-Knabner, Ingrid (2019) Initial soil formation in an agriculturally reclaimed open-cast mining area - the role of management and loess parent material. Soil & Tillage Research, 191, pp. 224-237.

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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167198718310845?via%3Dihub


After reclamation of open-cast mining pits, soil formation starts from the deposited calcareous loess characterised by its basic physical and chemical properties whereas soil biology and structure need to develop to achieve a fully functional soil. In this study we used a chronosequence approach to elucidate soil formation on agriculturally reclaimed loess soils in an open-cast lignite mining area in Garzweiler (Germany). We selected six fields aged 0, 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 years after the first seeding in order to observe the initial stage of development of soil properties and assess the role of management with conventional crop rotation in soil structure formation and soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation. Loess parent material had a strong impact on aggregation, as CaCO3 acted as a strong cementing agent. Alfalfa cultivation in the pioneering phase was of high importance in the development of microbial biomass, as it protects microbes from N limitation. Soil macroporosity and pore connectivity increased only after compost application and ploughing during agricultural crop rotation. Soil organic matter (SOM) build-up was strongly dependent on the addition of compost, as crop residues from conventional crop rotation are not sufficient to maintain high SOC contents.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Soil development, Macroporosity, Soil organic carbon, Microbial abundance, Aggregation, CaCO3, tillage
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil
Germany > University of Munich - TUM
Germany > Other organizations
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:35361
Deposited On:03 May 2019 08:46
Last Modified:19 May 2021 13:10
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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