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Restoration of a Limestone Quarry: Effect of Soil Amendments on the Establishment of Native Mediterranean Sclerophyllous Shrubs

Authors

  • A. S. Clemente,

    1. Centro de Ecologia e Biologia Vegetal, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
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  • C. Werner,

    1. Lehrstuhl für exp. Ökologie und Ökosystembiologie, Universitätsstr. 25 (W4-114), D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany.
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  • C. Máguas,

    1. Centro de Ecologia e Biologia Vegetal, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
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  • M. S. Cabral,

    1. Centro Estatística Aplicações, Departamento de Estatística Investigação Operacional, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
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  • M. A. Martins-Loução,

    1. Centro de Ecologia e Biologia Vegetal, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
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  • O. Correia

    1. Centro de Ecologia e Biologia Vegetal, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
    2. Address correspondence to O. Correia, email otiliacc@fc.ul.pt
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Abstract

Limestone quarries are spread over the Mediterranean Basin and have a strong environmental impact on the landscape, causing vegetation losses and soil losses. A reclamation project was conducted in a limestone quarry, situated in Arrábida Natural Park (southwest Portugal), that is dominated by mediterranean vegetation. Revegetation was conducted using three evergreen sclerophyllous shrub species (Ceratonia siliqua, Olea europaea, and Pistacia lentiscus), and new techniques were assayed to improve plant water status and nutrient status during the first phases after plantation. A water-holding polymer (gel), fertilizer, and mycorrhiza inoculum were applied in a factorial experiment in a randomized complete block design. The success of these techniques was evaluated during 1.5 years, through monitoring of growth and ecophysiology of plants. Plant survival was high, the lowest values (95%) being recorded in C. siliqua. There were species-specific responses to the treatments applied. Ceratonia siliqua showed the highest growth rates and was the only species with growth stimulated by fertilizer application. However, the application of fertilizer induced changes in leaf characteristics of the other two species, increasing chlorophyll and nitrogen contents. Mycorrhiza inoculum had no effect on plant response. The addition of the water-holding polymer induced higher midday plant water potentials in C. siliqua, O. europaea, and P. lentiscus, but in the latter two species the simultaneous addition of gel and fertilizer induced the lowest water potentials. The addition of fertilizer and gel is recommended in future revegetation programs but not the combination of both when revegetating with O. europaea and P. lentiscus. The results of this experiment indicate that the use of these mediterranean species, adapted to nutrient and water stress, can circumvent harsh conditions of the quarry.

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