Effect of European Black Alder Monocultures on The Characteristics of Reclaimed Mine Soil

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 Institute of Forestry, Department for Silviculture, Plantation Establishment and Forest Ecology, Belgrade, Serbia

2 Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Ecology, Belgrade, Serbia


The effect of European black alder (Alnus glutinosa L.) on the contents of carbon and nitrogen,
exchangeable base cations, and plant available forms of phosphorus in the reclaimed mine soils formed by
waste deposition from opencast lignite mines was researched in central Serbia. It was concluded that the
greatest part of dead organic residues reaching the soil under European black alder monocultures was liable to
rapid decomposition into end products. This was the consequence of a narrow C/N ratio in the European black
alder litterfall which amounted on average to 12.77 in the study monocultures. Only a small part of organic
residues was transformed into humus. On that account, European black alder monocultures did not have a
major impact on the accumulation of organic carbon and total nitrogen in the soil. The content of carbon in the
surface layers accounted for 1.55-1.57%, and the content of nitrogen to 0.085-0.132%. Fast mineralisation of
organic matter, and thus also of the organic forms of nitrogen, resulted in the surplus of soil nitrates, which
were liable to washing through the soil. Nitrate movement resulted in the soil leaching and the movement of
base cations, primarily calcium, to the deeper layers of the solum. The total soil phosphorus content was low,
and also the level of plant available forms. A significant portion of total phosphorus in the surface layers of the
reclaimed mine soils was composed of its organic forms.