Phosphorus dynamics in a tropical forest soil restored after strip mining

Spain, Alister V., Tibbett, Mark, Ridd, Michael, and McLaren, Timothy I. (2018) Phosphorus dynamics in a tropical forest soil restored after strip mining. Plant and Soil, 427 (1-2). pp. 105-123.

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Background and aims: We hypothesized that successful early ecosystem and soil development in these P-deficient soil materials will initially depend on effective re-establishment of P storage and cycling through organic matter. This hypothesis was tested in a 26-year chronosequence of seven lightly fertilized, oxidic soil materials restored to eucalypt forest communities after bauxite mining.

Methods: Total P (Pt) status, Hedley P fractions and partial chemical speciation (NaOH-EDTA extraction and analysed using solution 31P NMR spectroscopy) were determined in the restored soils.

Results: Concentrations of Pt and most Hedley fractions changed with restoration period, declined with depth and were strongly positively correlated with C and N concentrations. Biological P dominated the Labile and Intermediate P fractions while Long-term P was dominantly inorganic. Organic P concentrations in NaOH-EDTA extracts and their chemical natures were similar in restored and unburned native forest sites. Phosphomonoesters were the dominant class of organic P.

Conclusions: Surprisingly rapid P accretion and fractional changes occurred over 26 years, largely in the surface soils and closely associated with organic matter status. Alkaline hydrolysis products of phosphodiesters and pyrophosphate indicated the importance of microbial P cycling. The important consequences for long-term ecosystem development and biological diversity require further study.

Item ID: 54342
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5036
Keywords: Mining, Oxisols, P-fractionation, P-speciation, Pedogenesis, Restoration
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2018 07:32
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410604 Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration @ 50%
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