Ecological network analysis to assess the restoration success of disturbed mine soil in Zoucheng, China

Jing Ma, Alejandro Gonzalez-Ollauri, Qi Zhang, Dong Xia, Fu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the interactions among soil microbial species and how they respond to land reclamation is essential to evaluate the success of ecological restoration actions in disturbed mine soil. In this study, we strived to reveal the interactions among soil bacterial communities along the reclamation timeline of a coal mine in Zoucheng, China. To do so, we investigated changes in the composition of soil bacterial over time and constructed molecular ecological networks (i.e., microbial network) following mining soil reclamation into agricultural land. The relationships between microbial networks and selected soil attributes (i.e., soil pH, electric conductivity, organic matter, soil nutrients and enzymatic activities) were also analyzed. The results showed that the composition of soil bacteria changed significantly along the reclamation timeline. The microbial network profile revealed that Acidobacteria, Planctomycetes and Proteobacteria were the key microbial populations. Soil pH, soil organic matter content, soil dehydrogenase and urease activities were significantly correlated (0.001 ≤ p < 0.05) with the microbial network structure, suggesting that the microbial networks found influenced the provision of relevant soil ecological functions after reclamation. The variation in complexity of the microbial networks along the reclamation timeline revealed that microbial development was promoted by the shift in land use from mining into agriculture. Overall, our findings shed light on how soil microbial communities and networks change following mine reclamation into agricultural land. The results presented herein will undoubtedly aid in the establishment of success indicators of ecological restoration activities in disturbed mining soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5393-5411
Number of pages19
JournalLand Degradation & Development
Issue number18
Early online date24 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • land reclamation
  • soil microbial community
  • ecological network
  • soil attributes
  • soil ecosystem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Development
  • Soil Science
  • Environmental Chemistry


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