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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. For. Glob. Change | doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00078

Fungal communities resist recovery in sand mine restoration

 Miranda Hart1*,  Monika Gorzelak2, Breanne M. Mcammond3, Jonathan D. Van Hamme3, Jason Stevens4,  Lynettte K. Abbott5,  Andrew Whiteley5 and  Paul Nevill6
  • 1University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada
  • 2Lethbridge Research Center, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada
  • 3Thompson Rivers University, Canada
  • 4Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Australia
  • 5University of Western Australia, Australia
  • 6Curtin University, Australia

The restoration of vegetation post mining is particularly challenging in extreme conditions such as Mediterranean systems where soil moisture is limiting, soil temperature fluctuates dramatically, and soil carbon is very low. In such systems, soil microbial communities may play an important role in attenuating extreme conditions. Thus, vegetation establishment on such sites may be curtailed by depauperate soil communities. Soil fungal communities, in particular, are essential for nutrient turn over but we know very little about how these communities respond to mining and post mining restoration. Fungi may be significantly affected by restoration practises. For example, the inclusion of deeper soil profiles (i.e. “overburden”) into restoration events is rare, but may expedite fungal community development. We studied a successional gradient of sand mine restoration in a former Banksia woodland in SW Australia to determine whether soil fungal communities recovered after 13 years. We also asked whether the inclusion of overburden into restoration sites improved soil fungal community development. Overall, fungal communities did not return to a pre-disturbance state by 13 years, nor did the inclusion of overburden affect their trajectory. Longer term studies are need to determine when, if ever, fungal communities are restored, and what effect this has nascent vegetation.

Keywords: Fungi, Sand mine, Rehabilitation, Mycorrhizas, plant pathogens, extreme conditions

Received: 02 Sep 2019; Accepted: 04 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Hart, Gorzelak, Mcammond, Van Hamme, Stevens, Abbott, Whiteley and Nevill. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Miranda Hart, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Kelowna, V1V 1V7, British Columbia, Canada, miranda.hart@ubc.ca