Soil physical properties of high mountain fields under bauxite mining
Ciência e Agrotecnologia
Mining contributes to the life quality of contemporary society, but can generate significant impacts, these being mitigated due to environmental controls adopted. This study aimed to characterize soil physical properties in high-altitude areas affected by bauxite mining, and to edaphic factors responses to restoration techniques used to recover mined areas in Poços de Caldas plateau, MG, Brazil. The experiment used 3 randomized block design involving within 2 treatments (before mining
... re mining intervention and after environmental recovery), and 4 replicates (N=24). In each treatment, soil samples with deformed structures were determined: granulometry, water-dispersible clay content, flocculation index, particle density, stoniness level, water aggregate stability, and organic matter contend. Soil samples with preserved structures were used to determine soil density and the total volume of pores, macropores, and micropores. Homogenization of stoniness between soil layers as a result of soil mobilization was observed after the mined area recovery. Stoniness decreased in 0.10-0.20 m layer after recovery, but was similar in the 0-0.10 m layer in before and after samples. The recovery techniques restored organic matter levels to pre-mining levels. However, changes in soil, including an increase in soil flocculation degree and a decrease in water-dispersible clays, were still apparent post-recovery. Furthermore, mining operations caused structural changes to the superficial layer of soil, as demonstrated by an increase in soil density and a decrease in total porosity and macroporosity. Decreases in the water stability of aggregates were observed after mining operations.