Microbiological analysis of soil perturbations associated with opencast coal mining and their consequences for restoration.

PhD Thesis

Norman, Mark D. P. 1995. Microbiological analysis of soil perturbations associated with opencast coal mining and their consequences for restoration. PhD Thesis University of East London Department of Environmental Sciences
AuthorsNorman, Mark D. P.
TypePhD Thesis

The work presented in this thesis was performed firstly to highlight the changes wrought in restored soil systems following the disruptive activities of opencast coal mining, and thereafter to identify, simulate and assess the effects of some typical perturbations associated with these activities. The microbial community was used as a focus for these investigations and the methods of soil adenosine 5'-
triphosphate content analysis, dehydrogenase activity analysis and ergosterol content analysis were utilised alongside several other physical and chemical determinations.
A field study of restored sites of various ages after cessation of opencast coal mining was undertaken which reinforced the utility of the microbial measurements.
Experimentation was performed to investigate the effects of soil storage (at two depths), physical disturbance, compaction and the effects of the different combinations
of these perturbations. Novel findings were obtained largely due to the paucity of research addressing the controlled manipulation and careful interpretation of these
individual perturbations, and their effects when combined. The storage of soil was found to be the dominant factor influencing the status of the microbial communities
upon restoration, and also influencing the development of these communities and the emergent plant biomass, post-restoration. This study found that soil, reinstated after opencast coal mining, becomes quickly dominated by fungi and, under grassland management, this domination then subsides over many years to a more bacterialcharacterised
system. Differences were identified between the action of physical disturbance and compaction on stored and unstored soils. The deleterious effect of physical disturbance on unstored soil and the apparent ameliorative effect on soil
affected by opencast operations can be interpreted through the change in soil architecture engendered by this treatment. The severe disturbances associated with
opencast coal mining were found to affect the soil biota, primarily in terms of enduring environmental change. Thus the study of soil ecology was used as a sensitive indicator of recovery of disturbed land, and the changing energy flow
through detrital food-webs was used as a model to follow this recovery process.

KeywordsSoil systems; Opencast coal mining; Soil ecology
Publication dates
PrintMay 1995
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Apr 2014
Additional information

This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

Publisher's version
File Access Level
Registered users only
Permalink -


  • 32
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 1
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as