Mulching with Rameal Chipped Wood to facilitate plant spontaneous colonisation on mine waste rocks, in a boreal forest context

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Simon Taurines, Marie Guittonny, Armand Séguin

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In Canada, mines contribute to the fragmentation of the boreal forest ecosystem. After mine closure, waste rock (WR) areas must be revegetated to facilitate the return of ecological services in order to quickly meet legal and social expectations. Restoring forest ecosystems on WR areas using spontaneous colonisation through primary succession can take decades. Addition of a mulch of rameal chipped wood (RWC) could improve physico-chemical properties of WR, facilitating plant colonisation. A randomly complete blocks design was installed in 2017 on a WR area of a closed gold mine in AbitibiTémiscamingue (QC, Canada), including four treatments: scarified WR (control), 2 cm RCW mulch layer over WR, 10 cm sand layer over WR with or without 2 cm RCW mulch layer. For 4 years, we monitored the natural plant colonisation and several soil physico-chemical properties determining the plant colonisation success. Six boreal tree species colonised the area (Pinus banksiana, Betula papyrifera, Abies balsamea, Picea spp., Acer spp., Salix spp.). Herbaceous species were mostly early primary successional species and there was no alien species. The number of tree individuals/m2 and the herbaceous total cover were not significantly different between WR treatment and the RCW treatments. At this stage of our experiment, the use of RCW mulch did not significantly increase early successional plant colonisation of WR.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program