Thesis: Reconstructing alternative soil substrates using inorganic soil amendments to improve soil quality and seedling recruitment in post-mining arid rehabiliation.
This research project aims to address some of the critical challenges faced by arid zone post-mining rehabilitation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. These challenges include the limited availability of natural topsoil to use on rehabilitation sites and the low soil fertility and physical quality of alternative substrates. This project seeks to work alongside mining companies to assess methods of improving the quality of alternative soil substrates through glasshouse and field based experiments to better inform rehabilitation management.
Why my research is important
Soil is a living system. In one teaspoon of productive soil there are more soil microorganisms than there are humans on Earth. Our soils store up to 45 % of the active global carbon and supports the livelihood of two-fifths of the population through agriculture and resource acquisition. Soil is also a strong indicator for ecosystem health with 80% of services linked to soil quality. Life on Earth is dependent on the health of our soils. However, one third of the Earths soils are degraded and are continuing to degrade at a rate of 12 million ha per year. Once degraded it is very difficult to recovery the quality of our soils and so the focus of my project is to assess the effectiveness of different strategies to restore soils in the context of arid zone post-mining rehabilitation.