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Sustainable natural remediation of abandoned tailings by metal-excluding heather (Calluna vulgaris) and gorse (Ulex europaeus), Carnon Valley, Cornwall, UK

Citation

Lottermoser, BG and Glass, HJ and Page, CN, Sustainable natural remediation of abandoned tailings by metal-excluding heather (Calluna vulgaris) and gorse (Ulex europaeus), Carnon Valley, Cornwall, UK, Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, 37, (8) pp. 1249-1253. ISSN 0925-8574 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2011.03.002

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the uptake of elements (Ag, Al, As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, P, S, Sb, Tl, U, W, Zn) by native gorse (Ulex europaeus) and heather (Calluna vulgaris), growing on abandoned tailings, Carnon Valley, Cornwall, UK. The metalliferous tailings are particularly As-rich (0.110.59 wt% As) and contain acid-generating sulfides (pH 3.366.59). Since abandonment three decades ago, gorse and heather have colonized much of the exposed tailings surface. Biogeochemical analyses demonstrate that gorse and heather are opportunistic, pioneering metallophytes that have the ability to exclude metals and As from their above-ground biomass. Concentrations of trace elements in gorse and heather were evaluated in terms of maximum tolerable levels in the feed of rodents and horses. The analyses revealed that gorse and heather do not accumulate large quantities of trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn) in their tissue, preventing harmful effects on rabbits feeding on them and transfers of trace metals and As into the developing wildlife food chains. This study demonstrates that (a) biogeochemical examinations of abandoned mined lands can reveal pioneering, metal-excluding plants; and (b) abandonment and benevolent neglect of mined lands can lead to the successful development of sustainable vegetation covers over mine wastes in the long term.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gorse heather tailings arsenic Cornwall
Research Division:Chemical Sciences
Research Group:Other Chemical Sciences
Research Field:Environmental Chemistry (incl. Atmospheric Chemistry)
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Environmentally Sustainable Mineral Resource Activities
Objective Field:Management of Solid Waste from Mineral Resource Activities
Author:Lottermoser, BG (Professor Bernd Lottermoser)
ID Code:74060
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Earth Sciences
Deposited On:2011-11-10
Last Modified:2017-11-02
Downloads:0

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