2008 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 13-19
Land to be remediated, such as those affected by heavy metals or organic pollutants, can be remediated using biological approaches. These include, quarries and strip mines, or land impacted by oil pollution or other organic pollutants. Phytoremediation is usually a key component of bioremediation. However, without restoring soil organic matter, the soil biodiversity takes decades to recover. The soil organisms are a key component of soil function, and support plant growth. In addition, the soil microbiology is essential both for bioremediation and supporting phytoremediation. Using inexpensive sources of quality organic matter, it should be possible to accelerate recovery of ecosystem health and biodiversity. One potential source of untapped organic matter is municipal solid waste as a composted amendment. The organic matter amendment promotes soil structure and the creation of adequate habitat and substrate for the soil decomposition food web. Long-term chronosequence studies indicate that soil food webs tend to make a transition after about 20 years to a stable community structure. This approach could be used to gain carbon credits by restoring degraded or polluted soils.