Elemental and stable isotope composition of Pinus halepensis foliage along a metal(loid) polluted gradient: Implications for phytomanagement of mine tailings in semiarid areas

  • Isabel Parraga-Aguado /
  • Jose Ignacio Querejeta /
  • María Nazaret González-Alcaraz /
  • Francisco J. Jiménez-Cárceles /
  • Hector M. Conesa
Journal ar
Plant and Soil
  • Volumen: 379
  • Número: 1-2
  • Fecha: 01 January 2014
  • Páginas: 93-107
  • ISSN: 0032079X
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11104-014-2038-4
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Background and aims: Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) is a widely used species for restoring degraded semiarid areas, but its use for the revegetation of metal(loid) polluted soils has not been thoroughly investigated. The main goal of this research was to study the ecophysiological status and elemental composition of spontaneous populations of Pinus halepensis growing on mine tailings to assess their use in phytomanagement of mine spoils in semiarid climates. Methods: Edaphic characteristics and the physiological (by stable isotopes) and nutritional status of pine trees were determined on mine tailings, in the metalloid-polluted surroundings and a non-polluted control area. Results: Low soil phosphorus availability at the tailings was found to be a more important limiting factor for pine physiological performance than high soil metal(lloid)s concentrations. Foliar phosphorus concentrations showed a strong negative correlation with foliar sulphur concentrations along the studied transect. The carbon and oxygen isotopic composition (¿13C and ¿18O) of pine needles indicated that trees at the tailings were less water stressed than those in surroundings or control areas. The low foliar ¿15N of pines growing at the tailings was due to low soil fertility and/or a heavy reliance on symbiotic ectomycorrhizal fungi for nitrogen uptake. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that Pinus halepensis is a suitable tree species for the phytostablisation of neutral or slightly-alkaline mining wastes in semiarid environments, thanks to its drought hardiness and good adaptation to low soil fertility and salinity. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Author keywords

    Indexed keywords

      Funding details