Usefulness of pioneer vegetation for the phytomanagement of metal(loid)s enriched tailings: Grasses vs. shrubs vs. trees

  • Isabel Parraga-Aguado /
  • Jose Ignacio Querejeta /
  • María Nazaret González-Alcaraz /
  • Francisco J. Jiménez-Cárceles /
  • Héctor M. Conesa
Journal ar
Journal of Environmental Management
  • Volumen: 133
  • Fecha: 15 January 2014
  • Páginas: 51-58
  • ISSN: 10958630 03014797
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.12.001
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Academic Press
The goal of this work was to assess the selection of the most suitable combination of plant species for the phytomanagement of mine tailings, by comparing among different plant life-forms (grasses, shrubs and trees). A comparison on induced rhizosphere changes generated by four plant species (the grass Piptatherum miliaceum, the shrub Helichrysum decumbens, and the trees, Pinus halepensis and Tetraclinis articulata) and high density vegetation patches (fertility islands) at a mine tailing located at Southeast Spain and the description of their physiological status employing stable isotopes analyses were carried out. The edaphic niches for plant growth were determined by salinity, organic matter and total soil nitrogen while metal(loid)s concentrations played a minor role. Induced changes in plant rhizospheres had a significant impact in soil microbiology. While grasses and shrubs may play an important role in primary ecological succession, trees seem to be the key to the development of fertility islands. The low ¿15N values (-8.00¿) in P.halepensis needles may reflect higher ectomycorrhizal dependence. Large differences in leaf ¿18O among the plant species indicated contrasting and complementary water acquisition strategies. Leaf ¿13C values (-27.6¿) suggested that T.articulata had higher water use efficiency than the rest of species (-29.9¿). The implement of a diverse set of plant species with contrasting life forms for revegetating tailings may result in a more efficient employment of water resources and a higher biodiversity not only in relation to flora but soil microbiology too. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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