Environmental evaluation of suitability of recultivated land in a manganese quarry for the existence of soil biota

Keywords: soil invertebrates, soil bonitet, extraction industry, ecosystem assessment, technogenesis


The challenge of degradation of natural ecosystems because of human activity is considered by the world community to be the most serious problems facing mankind. As a result of mineral extraction, man-made landscapes and environmentally ruined areas replace natural habitats and agroecosystems; a whole spectrum of man-made processes are typical for such landscapes, which leads to a decrease in species richness and biological diversity within such areas. Degraded territories formed in the process of coal mining are often partially restored through remediation measures. During the implementation of the technical stage of remediation, substrates with different potential fertility having different environmental properties and quality are used. However, in quality assessment of remediated soils insufficient attention is paid to restoration of the environmental properties of the soils, namely their suitability for the existence of soil biota, which ensures the soil’s sustainability and vitality. The main indicators determining the productivity of remediated lands and the degree of their suitability for the existence of soil biota are values of actual acidity and degree of salinity. An assessment of the quality of reclaimed lands of  the Ordzhonikidzevsky ore mining and processing enterprise was carried out on the example of the Zaporizhsky open-cast mine with the aim of assessing the possibility of their economic use and suitability for the existence of soil biota , as well as to make recommendations for further rational use. It was found that  main characteristics  of the study area (capacity of bulk humic layer, content of humus in the bulk layer, content of physical clay in the bulk humic layer and in the subsoil, average soil density in the meter bulk layer, salinity of the bulk humic layer and subsoil, composition and properties of subsoil), of the Zaporizhzhya quarry's reclamation is suitable for the further settlement and successful existence of the soil biota. It is concluded that as a result of the technical stage of reclamation, an artificial reclaimed soil was obtained, which according to its characteristics is similar to the primary zonal soils that were located in this area prior to mining; the recultivated soil has somewhat lower fertility and greater salinity at the lower horizons, but is capable of performing ecological functions and can not only be used for economic purposes, but also perform ecological functions, serving as an environment for the existence of soil biota.


Albrecht, A., Angers, D. A., Beare, M. H., & Blanchart, E. (1998). Soil aggregation, soil organic matter and soil biota interactions: Implications for soil fertility recapitalization in the tropics. Cahiers Agricultures, 7(5), 357–363.

Arinushkina, E. V. (1970). Rukovodstvo po khimicheskomu analizu pochv [Manual to soils chemical analysis]. Moscow State University, Moscow (in Russian).

Atiyeh, R. M., Lee, C., Edwards, A., Arancon, N. Q., & Metzger, J. D. (2002). The influence of humic acids derived from earthworm-processed organic wastes on plant growth. Bioresource Technology, 84(1), 7–14.

Beniston, J. W., Lal, R., & Mercer, K. L. (2016). Assessing and managing soil quality for urban agriculture in a degraded vacant lot soil. Land Degradation and Development, 27(1), 996–1006.

Blouin, M., Hodson, M. E., Delgado, E. A. (2013). A review of earthworm impact on soil function and ecosystem services. Journal of European Soil Science, 64(1), 161–182.

Brevik, E. C., & Sauer, T. J. (2015). The past, present, and future of soils and human health studies. Soil, 1(1), 35–46.

Brygadyrenko, V. V. (2016). Influence of litter thickness on the structure of litter macrofauna of deciduous forests of Ukraine’s steppe zone. Visnik Dnipropetovsk University. Biology, Ecology, 24(1), 240–248.

Eisenhauer, N. (2010). The action of an animal ecosystem engineer: Identification of the main mechanisms of earthworm impacts on soil microarthropods. Pedobiologia, 53(1), 343–352.

Halperyn, A. M., Ferster, V., & Shef, K.-Y. (2016). Tekhnohenni masyvy ta okhorona pryrodnykh resursiv [Technogenic mаssives and protection of natural resources]. Moscow State University, Moscow (in Ukrainian).

Ivanova, K. V. (2014). Introduktsiya Eisenia fetida na fone biologicheskogo zagryazneniya i izmeneniya agrokhimicheskikh kharakteristik pochvy pshenichnogo polya [Introduction of Eisenia fetida under condition of biological contamination and changes in agrochemical characteristics of the wheat field]. Omskiy Nauchnyy Vestnik, 128(1), 178–182 (in Russian).

Jachimko, B. (2012). The influence of lignite mining on water quality. In: Voudouris, K., & Voutsa, D. (Eds.). Water quality monitoring and assessment. InTech, Croatia, 373–390.

Karaca, A. (2011). Biology of earthworms. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Keesstra, S. D., Bouma, J., Wallinga, J., Tittonell, P., Smith, P., Cerdà, A., Montanarella, L., Quinton, J. N., Pachepsky, Y., van der Putten, W. H., Bardgett, R. D., Moolenaar, S., Mol, G., Jansen, B., & Fresco, L. O. (2016). The significance of soils and soil science towards realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Soil, 2(1), 111–128.

Khaledian, Y., Kiani, F., & Ebrahimi, S. (2012). The effect of land use change on soil and water quality in Northern Iran. Journal of Mountain Science, 9(6), 798–816.

Khaledian, Y., Kiani, F., Ebrahimi, S., Brevik, E. C., & Aitkenhead-Peterson, J. (2017). Assessment and monitoring of soil degradation during land use change using multivariate analysis. Land Degradation and Development, 28(1), 128–141.

Kul’bachko, Y. L., Didur, O. O., Loza, I. M., Pakhomov, O. E., & Bezrodnova, O. V. (2015). Environmental aspects of the effect of earthworm (Lumbricidae, Oligochaeta) tropho-metabolic activity on the pH buffering capacity of remediated soil (Steppe zone, Ukraine). Biology Bulletin, 42(10), 899–904.

Kul’bachko, Y., Loza, I., Pakhomov, O., & Didur, O. (2011). The zoological remediation of technogen faulted soil in the industrial region of the Ukraine Steppe zone. Sustainable Agricultural Development, Springer Science + Business Media, New York. pp. 115–123.

Kulbachko, Y. L., Didur, О. А., Loza, I. M., & Kryuchkova, A. I. (2016). Effects of saprophages (Earthworms, Lumbricidae, and Millipedes, Diplopoda) on ecosystem services implementation: Optimization of some ecological functions in remediated soil. In: Issues of the ecosystem services provided by animals under anthropogenic pressure within Ukrainian steppe. East West Association for Advanced Studies and Higher Education GmbH. pp. 62–87.

Lovinska, V., Sytnyk, S., Kharytonov, M., & Loza, I. (2016). Features of pine stands function in Dnieper North Steppe, Ukraine. The Journal Agriculture and Forestry, 62(1), 155–163.

Marín, A., Andrades, M., Iñigo, V., & Jiménez-Ballesta, R. (2016). Lead and cadmium in soils of La Rioja vineyards, Spain. Land Degradation and Development, 27(1), 1286–1294.

Moebius-Clune, B. N., Moebius-Clune, D. J., Gugino, B. K., Idowu, O. J., Schindelbeck, R. R., Ristow, A. J., van Es, H. M., Thies, J. E., Shayler, H. A., McBride, M. B., Kurtz, K. S. M, Wolfe, D. W., & Abawi, G. S. (2016). Comprehensive assessment of soil health. Cornell University, Geneva, NY.

Mueller, L., Sheudshen, A. K., & Eulenstein, F. (2016). Novel methods for monitoring and managing land and water resources in Siberia. Springer Water, 75–110.

Pecharová, E., Martis, M., & Kašparová, I. (2011). Environmental approach to methods of regeneration of disturbed landscapes. Journal of Landscape Studies, 4(2), 71–80.

Pereira, P., Ferreira, A., Pariente, S., Cerda, A., Walsh, R. P. D., & Keesstra, S. (2016). Preface: Urban soils and sediments. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 16(11), 2493–2499.

Rodríguez-Seijo, A., Alfaya, M. C., Andrade, M. L., & Vega, F. A. (2016). Copper, chromium, nickel, lead and zinc levels and pollution degree in firing range soils. Land Degradation and Development, 27(1), 1721–1730.

Zhuravel, N. Y., Lezhenina, I. P., Klochko, P. V., & Yaremenko, V. V. (2013). Monitoring pochvennoy mezofauny na rekul’tivirovannykh zemlyakh Ignat’yevskogo gazoneftyanogo mestorozhdeniya (Ukraina, Poltavskaya oblast’) [Monitoring of soil mesofauna on recultivated lands of Ignatievsky gas and petroleum mine (Ukraine, Poltava region)]. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Biology, 1056, 109–116 (in Russian).