Vegetation succession on reclaimed coal wastes in Spain: The influence of soil and environmental factors
This study is summarised as evidence for the following.
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A replicated, site comparison study in 2008 of 31 former coal mines in northern Spain (Alday et al. 2011) found that adding topsoil increased the abundance of woody plant species. The 26 sites where topsoil had been added contained more woody species, and resembled later succession sites (see Alday et al, 2011 for details) than those where no topsoil was added (data reported as model results). The five mines where no topsoil was added were dominated by herbaceous species (e.g. Lettuce Lactuca spp., Skeletonweed Chondrilla spp.). Thirty one open-cast mines were selected. They varied in age since abandonment between one and 40 years. At 26 of these sites topsoil had previously been added, while at five sites no restoration had been carried out. At each mine ten 1 m2 quadrats were located randomly and the percentage cover of all plant species assessed once in 2008.