Advertisement

The addition of mine waste rock to topsoil improves microsite potential and seedling emergence from broadcast seeds in an arid environment

  • Peter J. GolosEmail author
  • Lucy E. Commander
  • Kingsley W. Dixon
Regular Article

Abstract

Aims

This study investigated the effect of method of blending and spreading topsoil-waste rock (as dictated by waste dump position), rock addition, topsoil source and seed burial on seedling emergence from seeds broadcast onto mine restoration sites.

Methods

Seed of 10 species were surface sown onto a waste rock dump plateau with six cover treatments spread by loose tipping; three topsoil source treatments (sand dunes, sandplains and stony hills) x two waste rock treatments (topsoil mixed and without waste rock).

Results

Emergence was greater on the waste dump plateau than slopes, where very few seedlings emerged. On the waste dump plateau, the addition of rock to topsoil increased seedling emergence >2.5-fold. Soil surface temperatures were cooler and water content at a depth of 2 cm was higher in topsoil mixed with rock than without rock.

Conclusions

Higher seedling emergence with the addition of rock to topsoil was due to the creation of microsites where sub-soil moisture was retained for longer durations. Lack of emergence on waste dump slopes was attributed to relatively low surface roughness that reflected operational issues associated with different methods of spreading and mixing topsoil with rock on plateau versus on slopes.

Keywords

Arid ecosystem Mine site Restoration ecology Triodia Waste rock dump 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Dr. Deanna Rokich provided support for part of the research period. Staff at Newcrest Mining Limited provided administrative and logistical support. Research was funded in part by Newcrest Mining Limited. PG was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. KWD is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Mine Site Restoration (Project Number ICI150100041).

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4060_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.7 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3785 kb)

References

  1. Atkins KJ (1985) Studies into the ecological revegetation of an iron ore mine site in the arid Pilbara region of Western Australia. Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Western Australia, CrawleyGoogle Scholar
  2. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2012). Climate statistics for Australian locations – Telfer aero. URL http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_013030shtml. Accessed 4 July 2012
  3. Baskin CC, Baskin JM (2014) Seeds: ecology, biogeography and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  4. Bochet E, García-Fayos P, Alborch B, Tormo J (2007) Soil water availability effects on seed germination account for species segregation in semiarid roadslopes. Plant Soil 295:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonilla-Moheno M, Holl KD (2010) Direct seeding to restore tropical mature-Forest species in areas of slash-and-burn agriculture. Restor Ecol 18:438–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chambers JC (2000) Seed movements and seedling fates in disturbed sagebrush steppe ecosystems: implications for restoration. Ecol Appl 10:1400–1413Google Scholar
  7. Chambers JC, MacMahon JA (1994) A day in the life of a seed: movements and fates of seeds and their implications for natural and managed systems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 25:263–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Commander LE, Rokich DP, Renton M, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ (2013) Optimising seed broadcasting and greenstock planting for restoration in the Australian arid zone. J Arid Environ 88:226–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Commander LE, Golos PJ, Miller BP, Merritt DJ (2017) Seed germination traits of desert perennials. Plant Ecol 218:1077–1091CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Commonwealth of Australia (2006) Leading practice sustainable development program for the mining industry - mine rehabilitation. Department of Industry. In: Tourism and resources. Canberra, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  11. DeFalco LA, Esque TC, Nicklas MB, Kane JM (2012) Supplementing seed banks to rehabilitate disturbed Mojave Desert Shrublands: where do all the seeds go? Restor Ecol 20:85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. EPA (2014) Environmental Protection Authority 2013–14 Annual Report. Environmental Protection Authority, Perth, Western Australia. URL https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/eeda822c-0cd5-4060-9360-7be17b534f73/files/environment-annual-report-2013-14web.pdf. Accessed 11 Jan 2019
  13. Erickson TE, Merritt DJ (2016) Seed collection, cleaning, and storage procedures. In: Erickson TE, Barrett RL, Merritt DJ, Dixon KW (eds) Pilbara seed atlas and field guide: plant restoration in Australia's arid northwest. CSIRO Publishing, Dickson, Australian Capital Territory. pp 7–16Google Scholar
  14. Erickson TE, Merritt DJ, Turner SR (2016a) Seed dormancy and germination of arid zone species. In: Erickson TE, Barrett RL, Merritt DJ, Dixon KW (eds) Pilbara seed atlas and field guide: plant restoration in Australia's arid northwest. CSIRO Publishing, Dickson, Australian Capital Territory. pp 17–34Google Scholar
  15. Erickson TE, Shackelford N, Dixon KW, Turner SR, Merritt DJ (2016b) Overcoming physiological dormancy in seeds of Triodia (Poaceae) to improve restoration in the arid zone. Restor Ecol 24:S64–S76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fischer RA, Turner NC (1978) Plant productivity in the arid and semiarid zones. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 29:277–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. García-Fayos P, García-Ventoso B, Cerdà A (2000) Limitations to plant establishment on eroded slopes in southeastern Spain. J Veg Sci 11:77–86Google Scholar
  18. Gee GW, Bauder JW (1986) Particle-size analysis. In: Klute A (ed) Methods of soil analysis: part 1 - physical and mineralogical methods. Soil science Society of America and American Society of agronomy, Madison. Wisconsin, USAGoogle Scholar
  19. Gibson-Roy P, Moore GM, Delpratt J, Gardner J (2010) Expanding horizons for herbaceous ecosystem restoration: the grassy groundcover restoration project. Ecol Manag Restor 11:175–185Google Scholar
  20. Golos PJ (2013) Restoring vegetation on waste rock dumps at the Telfer mine site in Australia’s Great Sandy Desert: Topsoil management and plant establishment. Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Western Australia, CrawleyGoogle Scholar
  21. Griffin GF (1990) Characteristics of three spinifex alliances in Central Australia. J Veg Sci 1:435–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Guzzomi AL, Erickson TE, Ling KY, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ (2016) Flash flaming effectively removes appendages and improves the seed coating potential of grass florets. Restor Ecol 24(S2):S98–S105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hancock GR, Turley E (2006) Evaluation of proposed waste rock dump designs using the SIBERIA erosion model. Environ Geol 49:765–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harper JL, Benton RA (1966) The behaviour of seeds in soil: II. The germination of seeds on the surface of a water supplying substrate. J Ecol 54:151–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. IBRA (2012) Interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia, version 7. Department of the Environment and energy, Australian government. URL http://www.environment.gov.au/land/nrs/science/ibra/australias-bioregions-maps. Accessed 11 Jan 2019
  26. Jacobs SWL (1973) Ecological studies on the genera Triodia R. Br. And Plectrachne Henr. In Australia. Ph.D. dissertation. The University of SydneyGoogle Scholar
  27. James JJ, Sheley RL, Erickson T, Rollins KS, Taylor MH, Dixon KW (2013) A systems approach to restoring degraded drylands. J Appl Ecol 50:730–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jonson J (2010) Ecological restoration of cleared agricultural land in Gondwana link: lifting the bar at ‘Peniup’. Ecol Manag Restor 11:16–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leavitt KJ, Fernandez GCJ, Nowak RS (2000) Plant establishment on angle of repose mine waste dumps. J Range Manag 53:442–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewandrowski W (2016) An ecophysiological approach to understanding recruitment in keystone Triodia species in arid zone restoration. PhD Thesis, University of Western AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  31. Macdonald SE, Landhäusser SM, Skousen J, Franklin J, Frouz J, Hall S, Jacobs DF, Quideau S (2015) Forest restoration following surface mining disturbance: challenges and solutions. New For 46:703–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Madsen MD, Davies KW, Boyd CS, Kerby JD, Svejcar TJ (2016) Emerging seed enhancement technologies for overcoming barriers to restoration. Restor Ecol 24:77–S84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCullagh P, Nelder JA (1989) Generalised linear models. CRC press. In: Boca Raton. Florida, USAGoogle Scholar
  34. Merino-Martín L, Commander L, Mao Z, Stevens JC, Miller BP, Golos PJ, Mayence CE, Dixon K (2017) Overcoming topsoil deficits in restoration of semiarid lands: designing hydrologically favourable soil covers for seedling emergence. Ecol Eng 105:102–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Merritt DJ, Dixon KW (2011) Restoration seed banks - a matter of scale. Science 332:424–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Merritt DJ, Golos PJ, Erickson TE (2016) A systematic approach to seed management for restoration. In: Erickson TE, Barrett RL, Merritt DJ, Dixon KW (eds) Pilbara seed atlas and field guide: plant restoration in Australia's arid northwest. CSIRO Publishing, Dickson, Australian Capital Territory. pp 35–42Google Scholar
  37. Miller BP, Sinclair EA, Menz MHM, Elliott CP, Bunn E, Commander LE, Dalziell E, David E, Davis B, Erickson TE, Golos PJ, Krauss SL, Lewandrowski W, Mayence CE, Merino-Martín L, Merritt DJ, Nevill PG, Phillips RD, Ritchie AL, Ruoss S, Stevens JC (2017) A framework for the practical science necessary to restore sustainable, resilient, and biodiverse ecosystems. Restor Ecol 25:605–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Montalvo AM, Mcmillan PA, Allen EB (2002) The relative importance of seeding method, soil ripping, and soil variables on seeding success. Restor Ecol 11:52–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moreno-de las Heras M, Espigares T, Merino-Martín L, Nicolau JM (2011) Water-related ecological impacts of rill erosion processes in Mediterranean-dry reclaimed slopes. Catena 84:114–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Muñoz-Rojas M, Erickson TE, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ (2016a) Soil quality indicators to assess functionality of restored soils in degraded semiarid ecosystems. Restor Ecol, 24(S2):S43–S52Google Scholar
  41. Muñoz-Rojas M, Erickson TE, Martini DC, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ (2016b) Climate and soil factors influencing seedling recruitment of plant species used for dryland restoration. Soil 2:287–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Noy-Meir I (1973) Desert ecosystems: environment and producers. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 4:25–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Peters EM, Martorell C, Ezcurra E (2008) Nurse rocks are more important than nurse plants in determining the distribution and establishment of globose cacti (Mammillaria) in the Tehuacan Valley, Mexico. J Arid Environ 72:593–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raíssa RPS, Oliveira DR, da Rocha GPE, Vieira DLM (2015) Direct seeding of Brazilian savanna trees: effects of plant cover and fertilization on seedling establishment and growth. Restor Ecol 23:393–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rieke-Zapp D, Poesen J, Nearing MA (2007) Effects of rock fragments incorporated in the soil matrix on concentrated flow hydraulics and erosion. Earth Surf Process Landf 32:1063–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rokich DP, Dixon KW, Sivasithamparam K, Meney KA (2000) Topsoil handling and storage effects on woodland restoration in Western Australia. Restor Ecol 8:196–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rokich DP, Dixon KW, Sivasithamparam K, Meney KA (2002) Smoke, mulch, and seed broadcasting effects on woodland restoration in Western Australia. Restor Ecol 10:185–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Seki K (2007) SWRC fit–a nonlinear fitting program with a water retention curve for soils having unimodal and bimodal pore structure. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 4(1):407–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sochan A, Bieganowski A, Ryżak M, Dobrowolski R, Bartmiński P (2012) Comparison of soil texture determined by two dispersion units of Mastersizer 2000. Int Agrophysics 26:99–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. St-Denis A, Messier C, Kneeshaw D (2013) Seed size, the only factor positively affecting direct seeding success in an abandoned field in Quebec, Canada. Forests 4:500–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Turner SR, Pearce B, Rokich DP, Dunn RR, Merritt DJ, Majer JD, Dixon KW (2006) Influence of polymer seed coatings, soil raking, and time of sowing on seedling performance in post-mining restoration. Restor Ecol 14:267–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Van Genuchten MT (1980) A closed-form equation for predicting the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 44:892–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Kings Park Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and AttractionsWestern AustraliaAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Mine Site Restoration, Department of Environment and AgricultureCurtin UniversityBentleyAustralia

Personalised recommendations