Globally soils contain approximately three times as much carbon as the atmosphere (IUCN 2011). The bioavailability of this carbon influences the effect of multiple soil properties, in particular biodiversity. Thereby soil carbon preservation is critical if we are to addresses the COP26 primary strategy “to protect and restore ecosystems”. Effective and targeted post-quarry soil restoration strategies are critical to promote long-term ecosystem development. Poorly managed soil that has been compacted during earthworks will have a degraded physical structure, and may no longer be appropriate for re-instatement into their intended end-use.
This research provides the basis of an MSc Environmental Engineering thesis, aiming to assess the implications of soil management strategies on carbon cycling, with a particular focus soil microorganisms. Soils restored to woodlands and grasslands were compared to local analogous reference sites of undisturbed soils. Recently (2022) composts were incorporated into topsoil at Ketton Quarry; the project will benefits of this practice to soil carbon and biodiversity.
The project will provide guidance on practice that will improve soil carbon sequestration and biodiversity potential of restored soils. Advice will include strategies that are likely to improve the storage of carbon in soil microorganisms. Future research will be suggested to investigate proposed interventions to improve carbon sequestration and biodiversity.