Effect of Wood Compost on Extreme Soil Characteristics in the Lusatian Lignite Region


Open-cast lignite mining operations result in a loss of soil quality. Soils associated with coal mining are usually characterised by poor physical and chemical parameters. Low pH and heavy metal toxicity are of the main concerns. The lignite and pyrite content of the dump materials of the Lusatian open-cast mining district in Eastern Germany resulted in high acidification potential and low organic matter content of soils. These extreme conditions require considerable amounts of alkaline materials like compost to enable revegetation. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of different application rates of wood compost on soil physico-chemical properties in two representative soil substrates (tertiary and quaternary) and on some plant growth parameters. Soil in each site was mixed with wood compost and sown with a grass mixture. The data of both studied soils showed an improvement in physical properties such as water holding capacity and bulk density in soil ameliorated with compost. Most soil chemical properties were increased significantly with the increase of compost application rates, particularly organic matter content, total nitrogen and cation exchange capacity. Compared to the control treatment in each site, the treated soil with compost showed a significant increase in grass biomass (fresh and dry matter yield). The results of these experiments revealed that addition of wood compost had significant positive effects on the soil physical and chemical properties, which affected the response of plant growth and can facilitate the revegetation of substrates contaminated with coal spoil.

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W. Nada, O. Blumenstein, S. Claassens and L. Rensburg, "Effect of Wood Compost on Extreme Soil Characteristics in the Lusatian Lignite Region," Open Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2012, pp. 347-352. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2012.24041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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