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Wood Chip Mulch: Enhancing Initial Vegetation Establishment on Mined Land

Read, T. R., Bellairs, Sean M., Mulligan, D. R., Lamb, D. and Keliher, L. (2005). Wood Chip Mulch: Enhancing Initial Vegetation Establishment on Mined Land. In: Adkins, S.W., Ainsley, P.J., Bellairs, S.M., Coates, D.J. and Bell, L.C. 5th Australian Workshop on Native Seed Biology, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, 21-23 June 2004.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 77258851xPUB1
Author Read, T. R.
Bellairs, Sean M.
Mulligan, D. R.
Lamb, D.
Keliher, L.
Title Wood Chip Mulch: Enhancing Initial Vegetation Establishment on Mined Land
Conference Name 5th Australian Workshop on Native Seed Biology
Conference Location Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Conference Dates 21-23 June 2004
Conference Publication Title Proceedings of the Fifth Australian Workshop on Native Seed Biology
Editor Adkins, S.W.
Ainsley, P.J.
Bellairs, S.M.
Coates, D.J.
Bell, L.C.
Place of Publication Kenmore, Qld, Australia
Publisher Australian Centre for Minerals Extension and Research
Publication Year 2005
ISBN 0-9750304-2-6   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 235
End Page 249
Total Pages 15
Field of Research 0502 - Environmental Science and Management
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract Initial vegetation establishment on highly exposed sites such as mined land can be affected by climatic extremes, including extremes in temperature, evaporative demand, moisture availbility, wind and water erosion. The application of mulch over the substrate surfave is one ameliorative strategy with the potential to reduce the severity of these extremes. This paper reports on the results of two studies that assessed the effect of mulch on the initial phase of vegetation establishment on mined land. Afield trial at Mount Owen Coal Mine in the Hunter Valley, NSW assessed the effect of wood chip mulch and and logs 1-2 m in length. At Mount Morgan Mine in Central Queensland, the effect of wood chip mulch, hay and a grass cover crop was assessed. At both mine sites, mulch, when applied as a thin layer of wood chips, significantly increased the density of vegetation that established. Increased plant density resulted from over twice the seedling emergence on wood chip plots at both sites. Plant survival could also be enhanced in the mulch plots, but this was apparently dependent on the initial establishment density and seasonal rainfall. Chip mulch enhanced seedling emergence by an increase in substrate temperature on wood chip plots. The use of a thin layer of wood chip mulch over the substrate surface is therefore recommended on highly disturbed sites, in order to maximise native vegetation establishment from sown seeds and to optimise the efficient use of available seed resources.
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