Soil Sampling for Detection of Acid Overburden on Small Game Management Areas Located on Severely-disturbed Land Bases

A vegetation and soil study was conducted on upland disposal sites of a 4,425- ha management area in Mississippi. This area comprised disposal sites managed for northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus). The soil and subsoil materials of these disposal areas originated from vertical cuts of geological strata up to 54 m and contained acidic overburden. Soil samples were collected at 0- to 10-cm and >10- to 20-cm depths on 35 disposal areas. Soil pH values in 0- to 10-cm depths were not related to depths to overburden. Soil pH levels in >10- to 20-cm depths were related to overburden depths (P < 0.0001). Soil pH levels in 0- to 10-cm depths (range: 5.2-7.7) on vegetated disposal areas were higher (P < 0.0001) than pH levels (range: 3.2-7.7) at >10- to 20-cm depths. Soil pH values on sites where overburden was intermixed in the upper 40 cm of substrate ranged from 2.9 to 3.9. Vegetation was generally absent in these areas due to inadequate coverage of overburden and resulting phytotoxic soil conditions. The relationship between depths to acid-producing overburden and pH levels in >10- to 20-cm soil depths indicated a need for collection of soil samples at greater depths on disturbed lands containing acidic overburden than on undisturbed lands that lack such overburden.

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