This project falls within the topic of “Biodiversity and Education”.
We will determine above- and below-ground biodiversity of restored sites at the Lehigh aggregate mine, where an award-winning mine reclamation program has been in effect since 1997, and work with local educators to increase understanding of biodiversity and environmental stewardship. Mine soils at Lehigh have been amended with municipal biosolids and pulp and paper sludge and re- vegetated with grasses & deciduous & coniferous trees. The long history of reclamation, variety of reclaimed sites and vegetation, and environmental data collected over the entire reclamation period enables a robust investigation of the links between above- and below-ground biodiversity and the potential of biosolids to enhance biodiversity. We will compare the composition, diversity and functional traits of vegetation and soil macro and mesofauna 1) among restored sites and adjacent natural forests, and 2) under different vegetation types. We will explore links between biodiversity and soil properties. We will increase awareness of the biodiversity potential of restored gravel mines in collaboration with local educators and communities.

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