Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2003
Publication Date: 11/11/2003
Citation: INGRAM, L.J., SCHUMAN, G.E., STAHL, P.D. CAN WE USE SHORT-TERM MICROBIAL RESPIRATION AS AN INDICATOR OF SOIL QUALITY IN RECLAIMED COAL MINE SOILS OF NE WYOMING?. AGRONOMY ABSTRACTS. 2003. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: For coal mines to be successfully reclaimed, it is critical that the soils used in the reclamation process contain a sufficient amount of organic matter to ensure that nutrient cycling will be self-sustaining. Traditionally, methods to measure nutrient cycling in soils are slow, time-consuming and expensive. Rather than measure nutrient cycling in the field, we correlated short-term (3 days) microbial respiration with a number of variables that are generally considered to be good indicators of nutrient cycling and are easily measured in the laboratory. This assessment was made on a range of reclaimed coal mine soils from the semi-arid, Power River Basin region of NE Wyoming. The indicators of nutrient cycling tested were: long-term (21 days) microbial respiration; microbial biomass (chloroform incubation method); long-term (21 days)N-mineralization and organic C. We found strong and significant correlations (r2 > 0.74, P< 0.001) between short-term microbial respiration and the various indicators of nutrient cycling. We believe that this method promises to be a relatively cheap and quick method by which we can assess the ability of reclaimed coal soils to sustain nutrient cycling.