The short-term response of soil mesofauna community density and diversity to dryland reclamation practices in boreal forest soils of Northern Alberta.
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Open pit mining practices, including those used in the oil sands region of Northern Alberta, disturb large areas of land and impact different soil ecosystem functions. These disturbances affect soil mesofauna communities, which are crucial to the success of reclamation efforts. Soil invertebrates, respond more rapidly to environmental changes because of their short life cycles, as such may be useful to assess the recovery of reclaimed soil ecosystems over time. Soil mesofauna (mites, collembola, and other small invertebrates) community densities and relative abundance were used to evaluate the early stages of reclamation soil development. Response of soil mesofauna community structure to disturbed soil ecosystems could indicate how below-ground biota in reclaimed soils recover from disturbance over time and help provide a faster, and more accurate assessment of reclamation success.