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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

Jack Pine Growth and Elemental Composition Are Affected by Saline Tailings Water


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 2, p. 648-653
    Received: Feb 21, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): janusz.zwiazek@ualberta.ca
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  1. Jennifer A. Franklina,
  2. Sylvie Renaultb,
  3. Clare Crosera,
  4. Janusz J. Zwiazek *a and
  5. Michael MacKinnonc
  1. a Department of Renewable Resources, 4-42 Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T5G 2E1 Canada
    b Department of Botany, 505 Buller Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N2 Canada
    c Syncrude Canada Ltd., Edmonton Research Centre, 9421-17 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T6N 1H4 Canada


In the processing of oil sands from Alberta's Athabasca formation, large quantities of alkaline, saline tailings and associated process-affected waters are produced. These waters may have a negative effect on plants used in reclamation of mined areas in this region of the northern boreal forest. In the present study, we examined the effects of process-affected water on the growth and elemental composition of jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) seedlings. Seedlings were grown in sand culture, and treated with tailings water to which mineral nutrients had been added. One-month-old seedlings were treated for 14 d, and all measured growth parameters were reduced. Growth and shoot elemental composition were also measured in seven-month-old seedlings that were treated for 10 wk with process-affected water. Shoots had significantly elevated levels of Na, Cl, S, P, B, and Sr, and significantly reduced levels of Fe, Mo, Ba, and K. The relationships between elemental composition and seedling growth and injury were examined using multiple regression. Growth rates, dry weights, and carotenoid content were reduced, but were not related to shoot elemental composition. Needle necrosis was positively related to tissue Na and Cl. Results indicate that reclamation planning must consider substrate Na and Cl levels when planting jack pine on tailings-affected sites.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:648–653.