Burrowing amphibians and mammals role in the soil ecological balance restoration on the areas of slag-heaps forest recultivation

V.L. Bulakhov, A.Ye. Pakhomov, A.A. Reva
Dniepropetrovsk National University, Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine

Disturbed lands restoration in the regions with intensive mining operations is one of the most important tasks. Agricultural recultivation is being realised more often. But it is imopratnt that the destructed type should be restored. This principle should be observed in those natural zones, where the ecological systems exhausted by mining exploitation, are in deficit. In the steppe zones, forest communities are the deficit ecosystems of the kind. Their anihilation, as a rule, disturbs the ecological balance in the region and worsens the environment. In Pridneproviye steppe zone (Ukraine) the major coal mining places are concentrated in the rivers flood areas where the natural forest ecosystems are located. That’s why it is important to make the artificial forest ecosystems, based on the forest recultivation, iinstead of the anihilated ones. But creation of such systems is difficult and takes a lot of time. To simlify and accelerate the forest recultivation process it is imperative to consider the fastest measurees of ecological balance restoration which is the soil’s (created artificially) bases. The soil has the unbalanced and disturbed biological process and the soil is practically dead. It takes not less than 5-10 years to restore the biological process which favours the optimal ecological balance. Thus, our task is to accelerate the ecological balance restoration process using burrowing amphibians and mammals. As the investigations showed (Bulakhov, 1977; Abaturov, 1984; Pakhomov, 1998) such species as Pelobates fuscus, Talpa europaeus, different Muridae and Cricetidae, Sorecidae are active soil transformers. Amphibia and insectivorous mammals were introduced by us (Bulakhov et al 1980) and small rodents independently entered the recultivation areas from the nearest agroecosystems. Investigations of the soils ecological balance restoration process was based on the determination of the following: soil microflora quantitative development, soils total fermentative activity (proteolitic), soil respiration and soil faund development processes. The experiments were performed on the plots populated by the animals mentioned above and on the ones where such operations were not done.
We arrived at the conclusion that even during the first year the soil ecological balance on experimental recultivation pllots is approximate to those of the natural forest ecosystems and significantly goes ahead the control recultivated plots (on 30-80 %).
Soil Microflora quantative development (in mln of the cells per 1 soil gr) on the experimeental forest recultivation plots varigiated in the limits 1.3-1.7 mln of cells (in the artificial plantations on the natural soils – 1.4-2.3), and without aniimals activity – only 0.6-1.1. Soil microflora development accelleration index was averagely equal to 1.7.
The total fermentativee activity (protheolitic) on the experimental plots heightened in 1.2-1.6 times. It has much in common with the artificial plantations on the natural soils and according to the index is 0.8-0.9. Soil respiration intensity on the experimental plots was larger thant that of control in 1.3-1.99 times.
Soil population formation on the plots where the burrowing amphibiana and mammals were introduceed, became more intensive as compared with the control ones. Thus, species variability (Protozoa: Testacidae) was essentially higher (in 1.3-2.1 times on different plots) and their quantitative development in 1.2-1.5 times. Soil Microarthopoder quantative development (Oribatidae, Gamasidae, Collembola) respectively in 1.4-11.7, in 1.8-2.3, in 1.6-2.1 times, Lumbricidae number increased in 1.3-1.6 times.
Hence, the enlargment of the most important soilformers (microflora, soil fauna) and biological processes intensity general indexes (fermentative activity and soil respiration) parameters demonstrates the accelerated ecological balance restoration in the unbalanced spread soils on the forest recultivation plots. The process mentioned, favours the much more higher enlargement of woody species (as far as the trunk diameter and height are concerned) in 1.5-5 times.

Zoocenosis — 2001
 Структура і функціональна роль тваринного населення в природних та трансформованих екосистемах: Тези I міжнародної конференції, 17-20 вересня 2001. – Дніпропетровськ: ДНУ, 2001. – С. 119-120.