The influence on soil development of the invertebrate fauna colonizing industrial reclamation sites.
Leaves of oak (Quercus robur) were confined in nylon bags of three mesh sizes, and buried from July until February on four recently reclaimed coal pit-heap sites in Northumberland, England. The sites were at different stages of reclamation when the experiment commenced. Similar bags were buried on a control area of pasture nearby. Breakdown of litter occurred on all four reclamation sites, but more slowly than on the control site. In the absence of earthworms and most large saprophagous arthropods the rate of breakdown on the reclamation sites was similar in medium and coarse mesh bags, and was attributed mainly to Collembola (particularly Isotomidae) rather than to Acari.