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Ecological Restoration of Ultramafic Soils


Academic year: 2021

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Ecological Restoration of Ultramafic Soils

Celestino Quintela Sabaris, Guillaume Echevarria, Sophie Leguédois

To cite this version:

Celestino Quintela Sabaris, Guillaume Echevarria, Sophie Leguédois. Ecological Restoration of Ultra-mafic Soils: Organic Amendments and Plant Functional Traits. Conseil Scientifique LabEx Ressources 21, Jan 2017, Nancy, France. 2017. �hal-01662247�







; ECHEVARRIA, Guillaume





INRA, LSE, UMR 1120, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, F-54505 ;


Université de Lorraine, LSE, UMR

1120, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, F-54505 ;

Conseil Scientifique du 26/01/2017

Rapport annuel ANR 2015-2016

Scientific issues

- Mining activities worsen extreme soil conditions in ultramafic areas.

- Ecological succession provides a low-cost nature-assisted tool for restoring postmining environments.

- Some critical factors (e.g. lack of initial nutrient stock in soils, soil toxicity, low inmigration of seeds and soil biota) may

impede the onset of ecological succession processes.

- Identification of soil amendments and well-performing plant species needed for successful ecological restoration.

State of the art

- Passive restoration (i.e. no planting) can be a effective way to recover a functioning ecosystem on disturbed areas.

- In some cases soil fertilisation is needed to provide a nutrient stock to start ecosystem recovery. Locally-produced oil-palm wastes can be a green low-cost soil amendment.

- Plant functional traits determine plant performance in response to different environmental factors.

- These traits can be used for the selection of interesting species for ecological restoration.

Methodological approach

Two field mission on Sabah ultramafic areas (Malaysian


Ammelioration of recolonization of ultramafic technosols 

mesocosm experiment. Plant cover surveyed each two weeks, leached water sampled each month.

15 sampling plots on serpentine quarry tailings and rocky

wastes and on serpentine burnt areas. Soil and plant samples collected. Soil cover described. Plant species identification not finished yet. Several functional traits have been registered

from field observations, database will be completed upon samples arrival at France.


Mesocosm experiment:

- Organic amendment had a slight acidifying effect on soil, although this effect has been lost after 3 months.

- Control and decompaction treatments had higher plant colonisation than organic amendments.

Vegetation on ultramafic disturbed areas:

- 50% of bare soil on ultramafic rocky tailings.

- Dominant vegetation grasses (Poaceae) and sedges

(Cyperaceae). Shallow root systems (less than 30 cm depth). - Plants/litter cover almost 100% of burnt areas.

- Ferns (mainly the bracken fern Pteridium esculentum) are the dominant species.

- High prevalence of vegetative spreading (mainly rhizomes).


- Mesocosm experiment to be finished on July 2017.

Obtained data valuable for feeding into models of early evolution of technosols.

- Planned soil aging experiment (spring 2017) to assess soil evolution along longer periods.

- Physico-chemical and microbiological soil analyses of

disturbed ultramafic plots (pending on samples importation). - List of 14 functional traits to evaluate plant strategies on

ultramafic disturbed habitats (pending on samples importation).

- A third field mission planned for summer 2017: analysis of nutrient flow and pedogenesis by pioneer tree species on

serpentine quarry.

Ecological Restoration of Ultramafic Soils:

organic amendments and plant functional traits

-1 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 20 40 60 80 P la n tl et s per P ot Time (days) C+/OM-C-/OM+ C-/OM-6 6,5 7 7,5 8 8,5 9 9,5 0 20 40 60 80 100 p H o f So il P o re W ate r Time (days) C-/OM-C-/OM+ C+/OM-0 20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100 P e rce n ta g e o f co ve r

Plots on burnt areas Plots on rocky wastes

Trees Shrubs Ferns Forbs Grasses/sedges Litter/mosses Bare soil Cover type

Mesocosm experiment: pot colonisation by plants and evolution of pH of leached water along time. Three treatments: control compacted (C+/OM-), decompacted (C-/OM-) and decompacted + amended (C-/OM+).

Soil cover on ultramafic rocky tailings and on recently burnt ultramafic areas.

Unvegetated serpentine accumulation at Garas site.


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