Agroforestry on Post-Mining Restoration: Finding the Most Important Ecological Factors

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Degi Harja Asmara, Suzanne Allaire, Meine van Noordwijk, Damase Khasa

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Agroforestry has a great potential as an environmentally sustainable practice in ecological restoration. The challenges with restoration on degraded post-mining land are the low productivity of soil and high potential contaminants. Herein we evaluated the potential of phytobial remediation by testing a mixture of woody and herbaceous species, microsymbiont and biochar amendments, and growth spacing conditions. The aim was to find the most significant ecological factors for improving the plant performance and accelerate the restoration processes. The experiments with agroforestry multispecies and multifunctional approaches were conducted using greenhouse and field trials, including the Nelder plot design. The field trails were established on gold post-mining sites in the AbitibiTémiscamingue region, Northwest Quebec, Canada, on two types of waste materials: fine tailing and waste rock. We used a mixture of tree species (Alnus crispa, Picea glauca, Populus tremuloides, Salix arbusculoides) and herbaceous species (Avena sativa, Festuca rubra, and Trifolium repens). The biochar amendment and microbial inoculation were applied on both greenhouse and field trials. We found the positive effect of plant density which is potentially affected by an improvement of microclimate conditions. The differences of microbial inoculation between the greenhouse and field trials on the plant’s growth performance was also suspected as the result of differences in macro and microclimate conditions. Biochar’s effect on soil albedo and temperature can be more important in the studied climate and may hinder its impact on other soil properties. We suggest that microclimate improvement is an important factor for facilitating and accelerating the phytoremediation processes.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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