Facilitating the afforestation of Mediterranean polluted soils by nurse shrubs

Facilitating the afforestation of Mediterranean polluted soils by nurse shrubs The revegetation of polluted sites and abandoned agricultural soils is critical to reduce soil losses and to control the spread of soil pollution in the Mediterranean region, which is currently exposed to the greatest soil erosion risk in Europe. However, events of massive plant mortality usually occur during the first years after planting, mainly due to the adverse conditions of high irradiance and drought stress. Here, we evaluated the usefulness of considering the positive plant–plant interactions (facilitation effect) in the afforestation of polluted agricultural sites, using pre-existing shrubs as nurse plants. We used nurse shrubs as planting microsites for acorns of Quercus ilex (Holm oak) along a gradient of soil pollution in southwestern Spain, and monitored seedling growth, survival, and chemical composition during three consecutive years. Seedling survival greatly increased (from 20% to more than 50%) when acorns were sown under shrub, in comparison to the open, unprotected matrix. Facilitation of seedling growth by shrubs increased along the gradient of soil pollution, in agreement with the stress gradient hypothesis that predicts higher intensity of the facilitation effects with increasing abiotic stress. Although the accumulation of trace elements in seedling leaves was higher underneath shrub, the shading conditions provided by the shrub canopy allowed seedlings to cope with the toxicity provoked by the concurrence of low pH and high trace element concentrations in the most polluted sites. Our results show that the use of shrubs as nurse plants is a promising tool for the cost-effective afforestation of polluted lands under Mediterranean conditions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Environmental Management Elsevier

Facilitating the afforestation of Mediterranean polluted soils by nurse shrubs

Loading next page...
 
/lp/elsevier/facilitating-the-afforestation-of-mediterranean-polluted-soils-by-2uchIK986x
Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0301-4797
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.07.009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The revegetation of polluted sites and abandoned agricultural soils is critical to reduce soil losses and to control the spread of soil pollution in the Mediterranean region, which is currently exposed to the greatest soil erosion risk in Europe. However, events of massive plant mortality usually occur during the first years after planting, mainly due to the adverse conditions of high irradiance and drought stress. Here, we evaluated the usefulness of considering the positive plant–plant interactions (facilitation effect) in the afforestation of polluted agricultural sites, using pre-existing shrubs as nurse plants. We used nurse shrubs as planting microsites for acorns of Quercus ilex (Holm oak) along a gradient of soil pollution in southwestern Spain, and monitored seedling growth, survival, and chemical composition during three consecutive years. Seedling survival greatly increased (from 20% to more than 50%) when acorns were sown under shrub, in comparison to the open, unprotected matrix. Facilitation of seedling growth by shrubs increased along the gradient of soil pollution, in agreement with the stress gradient hypothesis that predicts higher intensity of the facilitation effects with increasing abiotic stress. Although the accumulation of trace elements in seedling leaves was higher underneath shrub, the shading conditions provided by the shrub canopy allowed seedlings to cope with the toxicity provoked by the concurrence of low pH and high trace element concentrations in the most polluted sites. Our results show that the use of shrubs as nurse plants is a promising tool for the cost-effective afforestation of polluted lands under Mediterranean conditions.

Journal

Journal of Environmental ManagementElsevier

Published: Sep 15, 2015

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off