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Open AccessArticle

Soil Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Lands by Revegetation in Northwestern Part of Transylvania: A 40-Year Retrospective Study

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Department of Soil Sciences, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Calea Mănăștur 3-5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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Department of Geology, “Babeș-Bolyai” University, Mihail Kogălniceanu 1, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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Department of Horticulture, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Calea Mănăștur 3-5, 400372 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
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Department of Land Measurements, Management, Mechanization, University of Craiova, Libertăţii 19, 200421 Craiova, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3393; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123393
Received: 23 April 2019 / Revised: 18 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
Mining activities for mineral resources over the years have resulted in major soil damage. Due the removal process of desired mineral materials, soil textures have been destroyed, various nutrient cycles have been disturbed, and microbial communities have been altered, affecting vegetation and leading to the destruction of wide areas of land in many countries. Therefore, soil restoration of abandoned mining lands became a very important part of sustainable development strategies and also prescribed by law in several countries. The main aims of this study were to develop an ecological land restoration strategy to the degraded lands due former kaolin, quartz sand, and iron mining located in Aghireșu and Căpușu Mare in Cluj County, in the Northwestern part of Transylvania from Romania and monitor soil quality changes over 40 years. To assess the effectiveness of soil reclamation of mine lands, 30 soil profiles were examined and 450 soil samples were collected from three depths (0–20 cm, 20–50 cm, and 50–80 cm) and subjected to physical and chemical analyses, and compared for their sustainable and beneficial use. All the proposed plant covers (natural grassland, pasture cover, black locust, Norway spruce, and scots pine) significantly improved the overall soil quality with the increasing years of reclamation following various patterns. Pasture cover most significantly enhanced the soil’s microbial activity, organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content followed by natural grassland. The results of this study show that considerable changes in soil quality was reached by revegetation of these abandoned mine lands restoring their ecological integrity and self-sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil; restoration; pH; mycorrhiza; carbon; nitrogen; potassium; phosphorus; bacteria; inhabitation; fertility; enzymes soil; restoration; pH; mycorrhiza; carbon; nitrogen; potassium; phosphorus; bacteria; inhabitation; fertility; enzymes
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Buta, M.; Blaga, G.; Paulette, L.; Păcurar, I.; Roșca, S.; Borsai, O.; Grecu, F.; Sînziana, P.E.; Negrușier, C. Soil Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Lands by Revegetation in Northwestern Part of Transylvania: A 40-Year Retrospective Study. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3393.

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