Effect of coal mining on soil physico-chemical properties of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve of Meghalaya, northeastern India


Mining causes massive damage to landscape and biological components of an ecosystem. Due to extensive and unmanaged coal mining in the southern part of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve of Meghalaya, the area has been turned into degraded land since nutrient deficient sandy spoils are hostile for the growth and regeneration of plant communities. Soil is sandy to sandy loam and red, brown to dark brown in colour. The physico-chemical properties of the soil were greatly affected due to coal mining. There is an increased acidity i.e. from 6.00 in the undisturbed forest (control site) to 3.50 in the coal mine spoil since abandoned mine spoil discharge acidic water that are enriched with iron and other metals and metalloids. Apart from this, soil nutrients are greatly depleted. The core zone soils are rich in organic matter and nutrients whereas coalmine spoils show sign of degradation especially in the nutrient content.

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