Arthropod recovery in post-mine reclaimed sites
Mining is a significant disturbance on natural ecosystems and mining companies are required to reclaim disturbed lands post mine-closure. This observational study addressed three research questions based on the foundation of using DNA barcoding of arthropods as a new tool for assessing reclamation. First, this study evaluated if differences in arthropod assemblage and biodiversity are visible between sites representative of reclamation ages (‘new,’ ‘old’ and ‘reference’) and soil amendments (‘biosolids,’ ‘no biosolids’ and ‘reference’). Second, this study assessed species richness in relation to reclamation age and soil amendment. Third, this study assessed if any taxa can be used as indicators of reclamation age and soil amendments.
Arthropod samples were obtained in 2018 from Teck Resources Highland Valley and New Gold Inc. New Afton. Arthropods from pitfall traps were processed by extracting DNA and identifying taxa through DNA metabarcoding. Based on the results, the dissimilarity of arthropod assemblage between the reclamation age and amendment sites implied another external factor is a stronger driver. Second, despite treatment correlations with order-level taxa, there was not a
statistically significant relationship of the overall richness between the sites. Third, indicator species analyses identified several taxa uniquely associated with age and amendment sites. It is also interesting that there were no invasive taxa representative of the study sites. Using novel methods (high-throughput DNA metabarcoding), this project contributes to the improvement of planning and management practices, leading to more effective post-mining ecosystem-recovery outcomes, as they relate to the sustainable health of ecosystems, which are vital to the continued growth of BC’s communities and economy., biodiversity, ecosystem reclamation, arthropods, environmental DNA barcoding